THE CABLE operator NTL plans to launch a national service that will offer consumers access to digital terrestrial television as part of a package including cheap telephone calls. Jeremy Thorp, director of NTL's interactive division, said the group would supply set-top boxes to consumers outside its cable areas.
The boxes, which will offer a basic package of free channels from the BBC and ITV, will also provide access to NTL's interactive services and pay-TV channels from ONdigital, the rival to BSkyB. NTL yesterday linked up with software giant Microsoft and a clutch of large companies including Barclays, Airtours and Universal Studios to unveil its interactive service, which will offer home shopping and banking as well as access to the internet. The service is due to be launched in the Spring.