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October 5, 1998

NTL PLANS INTERACTIVE TV AT THE END OF MARCH

By CBR Staff Writer

UK-based cable operator NTL Inc plans to launch the country’s first commercially available interactive television service, running on multiple platforms, at the end of March 1999, says Jeremy Thorp, a director of the company’s NTL Interactive division.

The company yesterday unveiled the names of 35 content providers for the service, including Barclays Bank, the Mirror Group, Railtrack and Universal Studios. Its technology provider for hosting environment software is Microsoft, with its MCIS (Microsoft Commercial Internet System).

The idea, explained Thorp, is to offer its customers TV, telephony and internet services all via their set-top box. To this end, NTL has signed up with a leading ISP, Virgin.net (of which it holds 49%), to act as a Net portal. As for the platform claim, the company is currently preparing its digital cable TV offering, to be launched later this month. It plans to launch digital terrestial TV early next year.

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