In the UK, ISP NTL plans to start upgrading its cable customers to 10Mbps connections before the end of the year. The upgrade will be free to all NTL broadband users. The rollout, which is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2006, will initially be made available for NTL's 3Mbps customers this year, but eventually all users will be able to get the upgrade.

NTL hopes that its latest strategy will put it into a market-leading position once again. "Our broadband services will become amongst the most innovative in the world and certainly well ahead of anything else in the UK," said Simon Duffy, NTL's chief executive.

NTL is hoping to establish to 10Mbps as standard for cable broadband products. Its strategy is to offer practically unlimited speed, but to impose extra charges on users who download very large amounts of data.