Cable operators NTL and Telewest have announced a joint plan to develop interactive TV, heightening speculation the two will eventually merge.

The duo have forged a deal to develop “broadband television” and launch it on their platforms next year. The scheme will see TV programming linked with interactive shopping, gambling and games via high-speed cable lines.

Neither firm would reveal the scale of their investment. Commented Telewest chief executive Adam Singer: “With this agreement we create the UK broadband Treaty of Rome, where we take the barriers down between us and give the UK cable customer equal benefits, equal access, and the equal applications of broadband technology.”

News source: The Times (London)