Telewest, the number two UK cable group, said Britain could catch upother countries in the first stage of rolling out high speed internet services.
Charles Burdick, the finance director, said: "Between ourselves and NTL we have the capacity to deliver broadband services to half the UK. Cable modems are a cost effective way of reaching the public, schools and business." He added: "I don't think (Britain) is woefully behind," commenting on figures that show Britain lagging most countries in rolling out high speed internet access. "Opening up BT's local loop has been a disappointment but that will change."
Patricia Hewitt, the e-commerce minister, said last week that public sector investment in broadband will be substantially higher than the published estimate of £500m over three years. To date ministers have committed only £30m to direct subsidies for expansion.
Mr Burdick's remarks coincided with Telewest announcing a rise in first quarter pre-tax losses to £209m from £137m a year earlier, due mainly to higher interest charges and the goodwill cost related to the acquisition of Flextech. Revenue rose by a third to £321m. Telewest shares fell 3.5p to 119.5p.Reuse content