Comment: When in a hole, stop digging

The cable industry is so used to peering down black holes and then putting on a brave face that Telewest's investors could be forgiven for interpreting yesterday's restructuring plans as just one more hopeful stab in the dark.

Whether the cutbacks go far enough is debatable, but what Telewest has finally admitted - that the investment bonanza is well and truly over - is just as applicable to all the other companies still merrily digging away as their shares slide.

But savage cost cutting on its own will never be enough, unless Telewest and its peers can encourage more people to buy their services.

Without BSkyB's help the cable companies can do nothing. Their best hope is that Oftel will emerge as a fairy godmother, nudging BSkyB into renegotiating the complex structure of programming charges. But BSkyB, as always, is not going to fall over itself to help the cable industry as it plans a rival digital satellite service.