Telewest has announced its new low-cost 256kbps broadband Internet service, and has opened up to take pre-registrations for the service when it is rolled-out.

The company will charge £17.99 per month for the service, which is scheduled to launch this spring. Because it's a cable-based service, this always-on connectivity solution does not tie up an existing phone line.

The company already offers the broadband services at the following three speeds: 512kbps, 1Mbps and 2Mbps.

Telewest director of Internet services Chad Raube said: "We've spent the last few years successfully developing ultra-fast home Internet services and we've learnt that broadband users want choice and value."

"We're expecting demand from people who have previously considered broadband a big leap from dial-up and now getting onto the first rung of the broadband ladder will become a no-brainer," he said.

The first 5,000 people to pre-register for the new services through Telewest's pre-registration Web site will get free installation and their first month free. Installation usually costs £50. The service is subject to a 12-month contract. Telewest expects customers for this service to generate no more than 750MB of data traffic each day. Users exceeding that may be asked to migrate to a higher-bandwidth service.