NTL has announced plans to offer its free unlimited internet access service to UK homes that do not have access to a PC.
The cable company, which today launched a free unmetered internet access service for PC owners, said it will roll out a TV-based internet service from 17 April.
NTL's service, called ntlworld, offers customers free internet calls without having to pay a subscription to an ISP or a call connection charge. It includes five email addresses and 10Mb of web space.
The company said both PC and TV internet access are national services and are not restricted to areas covered by NTL cables. TV owners can register for the service from Monday 17 April by calling 0800 952 43 43.
An NTL spokesman said: "The idea of ntlworld is to make free and unlimited internet access available to anyone in the UK. All TV internet users will need is a telephone line from BT or NTL and a set-top box."
Existing NTL cable customers that want TV internet will need to pay £10 per month for a set-top box, which includes a 56Kbps modem. The box plugs into the TV and phone socket and has a infrared keyboard. These customers already pay at least £9.25 a month for a cable TV and telephony package.
Customers with a BT phone line will need to buy a telephone adapter for £10, spend at least £10 a month on non-internet voice calls and pay £10 a month for the TV set-top box. They must also pay the BT line rental.
NTL is undergoing commercial trials of digital services and expects to roll out a full commercial service later this year.
Digital TV set-top boxes contain high-speed cable modems and will provide access to email and a limited number of websites.
The NTL spokesman said that while the TV internet service is open to all customers, he predicts that most digital customers will not buy the second TV internet box. Instead, he expects them to use PC-based access.
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) customers who already have digital access will have all NTL services made available to them when the NTL acquisition of CWC Consumer Co is finalised this year.
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