Telewest will this month crank up its top of the range broadband service from 2Mpbs to 3Mbps, ensuring the cable company retains its top speed ISP crown.

What’s more, the company has vowed to make the necessary upgrade to its network, without increasing the cost to customers.

According to the company its 3Mbps service will primarily appeal to gamers and households that need to share their broadband connection.

The move comes as part of a 50 percent speed hike across two of the companies other broadband offerings: users of the 512kbps service are being upgraded to 750kpbs, while 1Mbps customers are now officially 1.5Mbps customers.

These will cost £25, £35 and £50 per month respectively. This means 450,000 broadband-connected customers should benefit, according to the company. And all without paying an extra penny.

Low-end Telewest broadband (256Kb) customers, however, won't see any benefit as for them the speed remains the same.

The UK’s only other cable operator and long term future spouse – NTL - has responded to Telewest’s move by playing copycat.

NTL is raising its 150kbps service to 300Kbps for £17.99; the 600kbs service hits 770kbs for £24.99 and NTL's 1Mb service now offers 1.5Mbps for £37.99.

Ramped-up services will be rolled out across the network in the coming weeks.

The company has also disclosed plans to improve the company's email and newsgroup services. This means the company claims it will be offering a "state-of-the-art" email platform and "one of the largest" newsgroup platforms in Europe.

The company also released details of upcoming improvements to its Broadband Plus service. Subscribers to this £3.99-a-month option will benefit from a new channel - MTV Live and digital photo services from PhotoBox.