Cable Operators

NTL Pulls Cable Telephony in Ireland

10/12/2004 7:08 AM Eastern

NTL Inc. is closing down its cable-telephony service in Ireland, claiming that the Tellabs Inc.-supplied units used to connect phones to cable could be dangerous, AP reported.

The operator’s crews began going to customers' homes to take away their “Cablespan” units. NTL declined to specify the nature of the threat, but regulators and politicians said the operator informed them that the boxes could overheat and cause fires, AP reported.

"Tellabs rigorously tests all products prior to deployment,” the vendor said in a prepared statement. “We are aware of two isolated incidents that have raised this concern. We do not believe Tellabs' product is faulty."

"Obviously, we deeply regret suspending the service to our customers, but our No. 1 priority is customer safety," NTL spokeswoman Anna-Maria Barry told AP, adding that the MSO would help its customers to make "a seamless transition" to Ireland's dominant telephone company, Eircom.

However, an Irish senator representing southwest Dublin, Brian Hayes, accused NTL of treating its customers with contempt and said some customers suspected, "This is just an excuse for NTL to get out of the business," according to AP.

"For any service provider to leave people high and dry like this and not give them information about the inherent security risk that applied is just unconscionable," Hayes told AP.

Barry responded, "This decision wasn't made lightly. If we hadn't identified this problem, the service would still be up and running."

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