Britains NTL Reaches Critical Mass


London -- Flushed by its pending agreement to acquire Cable
& Wireless Communications plc's residential broadband operations for $13 billion,
U.K. cable giant NTL Inc. said its operations and subscriber levels have reached a
"critical mass."

At least that was the line coming from NTL CEO Barclay
Knapp last week in the company's first-half earnings statement, indicating that a
potential merger with fellow British MSO Telewest Communications plc is now on the back

"[NTL's] results continue to lead the
industry," Knapp said in a prepared statement.

Not including the pending CWC acquisition, NTL has achieved
a penetration rate of 46 percent in its franchise areas, up from 40.6 percent a year ago.
Annualized churn stands at just 13 percent. Both NTL's penetration and churn levels
are better than those of CWC or Telewest.

Nevertheless, NTL's aggressive series of acquisitions
(including Ireland's Cablelink Ltd.), extensive marketing and the build-out of its
franchises pushed its losses up almost threefold to $578 million, or $8.78 per share, in
the six months ended June 30, from $197 million a year ago.

The figures do not include CWC, which NTL agreed to acquire
in late July.

NTL also reported some new commercial contracts: It will
provide telecommunications services to British drugstore chain Boots The Chemists Ltd.,
and it agreed to provide telecommunications services to Eurotunnel along with France
Telecom S.A., which agreed to invest $5.5 billion in NTL in July.

NTL also said it now has 389,000 Internet subscribers.