RealTime IT News

NTL Trumps AltaVista With Free Access

Going one better than Web portal AltaVista, the U.K's largest cable company NTL says it will offer unmetered Internet access with no subscription charges from April 17.

The service, named ntlworld, will be available to anyone in the U.K., the only proviso being that existing BT customers will have to spend at least £10 ($16) per month on non-Internet voice calls and make an additional one-off payment of £10 for a telephone adaptor.

Earlier this week, AltaVista gained massive publicity by becoming the first major player to promise unmetered Internet access over a standard telephone connection. Now, just hours later, AltaVista faces immediate competition from NTL which expects to be first to market, beating AltaVista by several weeks.

Barclay Knapp, NTL's chief executive officer, said his company's vision is to bring the Internet to all UK homes - either via the PC, or the TV. A TV Internet service is due to follow soon after the April launch of the PC service.

"ntlworld will help the UK in a drive to lead the world in making e-commerce, e-entertainment and e-education available to everyone," said Knapp.

Knapp went on to point out that NTL had a national network and a reputation for competitive pricing, adding: "And you don't get much better than free."

To get ntlworld, users need to pre-register their interest at www.askntl.com or telephone 0800 952 43 43.

NTL will supply an access disk for PCs and AppleMacs, providing a package that includes five email addresses, 10MB Web space, access to news groups and a million-link directory.

In areas served by NTL's cable network, customers have a further choice of many cable TV and telephony packages priced from £9.25 ($16) per month. Cabled areas include Cardiff, Glasgow, Surrey and Hants, Midlands, Northern Ireland, Teesside, Kirklees and Cambridge.