US-owned cable company Telewest Communications, whose network operates only in the UK, has temporarily shrugged-off its massive debt mountain in an attempt to carve a larger slice of Britain's pay-TV market.

Bidding to reverse its outflow of customers, Telewest is to slash the price of its basic package to just £3.50 ($5.74; €4.84) per month. This offers the five standard free-to-view terrestrial services plus 25 additional channels.

But there are strings attached to this seeming generosity. Viewers also have to subscribe to a Telewest phone line but – for June only – Telewest is reducing its £50 connection charge to just £10.

The deal targets customers of Rupert Murdoch’s digital satellite giant BSkyB, the dominant force in UK pay-TV, whose monthly subscription packages range from £12.50 to £38.

Gavin Patterson, managing director of Telewest Broadband, got positively Churchillian about the new package: “This is the beginning of the fight-back for the TV and phone sides of the business. We’ve got a few other tricks up our sleeve. This is just the start of the ‘Telewest returns to growth’ story.”

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff