London -- Telewest Communications plc said last week that
its net loss for the quarter ended June 30 grew 57 percent from the same period a year ago
to £119.6 million ($188.5 million).
Britain's No. 2 MSO also said it will team up with
Microsoft Corp. -- which has agreed to buy 29.99 percent of the company -- to launch a
high-speed Internet-access service by early next year.
Interest expenses at the company rose 70 percent from the
year-earlier quarter to £67.5 million ($106.4 million). And in the first six months of
the year, sales and administrative expenses widened 46.3 percent to £135.2 million
Telewest and Microsoft said the first stage in their
broadband-Internet service will be a co-branded Internet portal that will contain content
from both companies. The cable-modem-based service will be 100 times faster than current
dial-up access, the companies added.
Telewest also plans a fourth-quarter launch of digital
cable boasting 150 channels, 50 of which will be near-video-on-demand.
At its existing operations, Telewest said penetration in
the first six months of the year rose 2.7 percentage points from the first half of 1998 to
24.9 percent. Telephony penetration rose 1.7 percentage points to 31.3 percent.