NTL Business, the business-to-business arm of the cable TV company, says it’s determined to help build the Government’s vision of a digital broadband web-connected Britain by offering low cost broadband services to UK SMEs (small to mid size firms). Brian Hickey, NTL Business’ marketing director, says the firm has launched an important new 1Mb/sec broadband service (20 times the speed of a 56k dial-up modem) for smaller businesses. “We’re providing them with ‘always on’, high speed web connection for just £125 a month – a fraction of the alternative leased line approach,” he says. It’s an extension to NTL’s existing low cost ‘Business Essentials’ packaged service, that already provides voice and an Internet presence with web site space, email and the rest for a monthly charge. And although not targeted solely at manufacturing (despite the fact that the release we received implied it is), it does seem a simple and good idea, as NTL own free ‘Broadband Guide’ would say. Says Hickey, “We all recognise the value of the web in competing with respect to supply chains and collaborating with partners and customers. This is about taking the Internet from just a possibility for a lot of companies in the UK to a reality. That’s the point.” And he adds: “Adoption of the web by manufacturing small business will be a significant step forwards. Larger manufacturers already have this, but for many SMEs it’s just dial-up slow speed stuff. They need to be able to collaborate with customers and suppliers electronically, so they have to have fast, always-on connection.” NTL Business, which is a £470 million division of NTL itself, has issued a free information pack – ‘the NTL business guide to broadband: high speed internet access for small businesses’. Call 0800 052 5923 for a copy.