Computer Networks with a Foundation Year - BSc (Hons) *

UCAS Code:
I12B
Attendance:
Full Time (4 years)
Starting:
September 2019
Campus:
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BSc (Hons) Computer Networks with a Foundation Year, will equip you to take the revolution in communications technology to the next level in our modern, mobile, connected society.

You will have access to networked laboratories running the latest software, ensuring you become well acquainted with technologies you’ll encounter when working in the industry.

About the Foundation Year

The Foundation Year course option enables you to study for our BSc (Hons) degree over an extended full-time duration of four years by including a Foundation Certificate (year one of four). The Foundation Certificate provides a broad study course that underpins the follow-on degree. In order to progress to the next year of your degree, it is necessary to achieve a pass in all of the modules of the Foundation Certificate.

What's covered in the course?

You’ll take a practice-led approach, making use of equipment and tools found in the workplace, giving you the best preparation for employment. We prioritise the practical skills sought by industry, backing them up with a thorough understanding of theory. You will explore the latest in computing, network, and cloud and server technologies and have the opportunity to gain additional accreditation from Microsoft, Cisco Systems and the Linux Professional Institute. We are also home to Cisco Systems and the Microsoft Academy Centre.

You will study a well-rounded curriculum in computer network engineering, programming, server systems and practice, as well as develop management-level skills such as project and change management to maximise you career potential.

Upon graduation you could progress into a career as a network administrator, network services engineer, network architect, network support analyst, data centre engineer, storage and virtualisation analyst, technical infrastructure architect, Linux network administrator, field network technician, service desk analyst, solutions architect, and IT infrastructure specialist.

My placement involved being an intern for a year, doing everything a full engineer would do, everything from configuration to documentation to eating lunch with the rest of the guys. Phil Bridges (Network Consulting Engineer at Cisco Systems)

Why Choose Us?

  • We are home to a Cisco Systems and the Microsoft Academy Centre – one of Microsoft’s top UK university-based academies – and we are a member of the Microsoft Developer Network Academic Alliance. We are also a Cisco ASC (Academy Support Centre) and Cisco Instructor Training Centre (ITC) – one of only 10 such instructor training centres in the UK.
  • We are recognised for our excellent research capabilities and extensive industry partnerships.
  • Our course has our course has been designed in line with the requirements of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), in order to prepare you to gain Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status.
  • You will work with industry-standard software development and simulation tools.
  • You have the opportunity to undertake an industry placement and gain professional qualifications from vendors such as Cisco, Microsoft and Linux Professional Institute.
  • In 2017, we spent £6.5 million on improvements to our Millennium Point facilities so you’ll have even more access to dedicated, industry-standard equipment.

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Cisco
  • Interactive Intelligence

And in jobs such as:

  • Technical associate
  • Associates System Engineer

 

This course is open to International students

School of Computing and Digital Technology

Discover the School of Computing and Digital Technology

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

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We are members of:

WISE member logo2 WISE members inspire girls to choose maths, physics and computing.

Subject to approval

This course is in the final stages of approval to ensure it meets the very highest standards of quality, creativity and applied learning.

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students
Essential

At the point of application, you must have GCSE at Grade 4 (C) or above in English Language and Mathematics. Equivalent qualifications can be considered in lieu of GCSE subjects as long as the required subjects are covered.

BB or 80 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2019/20
GCE A Level/ AS Level BB or 80 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
Access to Higher Education Diploma 60 credits overall. Minimum of 45 credits at level 3. Including 12 technical credits at Merit or Distinction. Must already hold GCSE Mathematics and English Language Grade C or higher or the equivalent at application point.
BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years)/ Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma D*D or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 80 UCAS points 
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years)/ Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma MMP - 80 UCAS points
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate Combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 80 UCAS points 
BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design Distinction
International Baccalaureate Diploma

Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma and who achieve the minimum of 11 points from two High Level subjects, will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates.

For students who do not already hold a GCSE in Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above grade 5 in Maths (Standard Level) from the IB Diploma will be accepted. For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) Group A English Group A - Grade 4 or above, OR English Group B Grade 5 from the IB will be accepted.

A combination of GCSEs, A-levels and IB certificates will be considered on a case by case basis.

Irish Leaving Certificate

Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 80 tariff points, achieved in four Higher level subjects. This must include Maths and English Language taken at either Ordinary level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) or Higher level (minimum H3/D1 taken from three subjects).

Must be from Technology, Science, or Computing related subjects. Higher levels to include Mathematics at Higher levels.

Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher

Achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers. Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades CDD.

Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of DD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of DD in two Highers).

Must be from Technology, Science, or Computing related subjects

Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) Combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 80 UCAS points 
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
EU/International students
Essential
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements 2019/20
IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).

Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma and who achieve the minimum of 11 points from two High Level subjects, will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates.

For students who do not already hold a GCSE in Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above grade 5 in Maths (Standard Level) from the IB Diploma will be accepted. For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) Group A English Group A - Grade 4 or above, OR English Group B Grade 5 from the IB will be accepted.

A combination of GCSEs, A-levels and IB certificates will be considered on a case by case basis.

Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.

 

International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

International Students

Entry requirements here

From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BSc (Hons) Sep 2019 FT 4 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BSc (Hons) Sep 2019 FT 4 years £12,300 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. Fees for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK/EU students

UCAS

UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
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Additional costs

There are no compulsory additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements). If your course includes a residential study session, the accommodation costs for this are already included in your course fee.

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

The additional costs listed here are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

Foundation year

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).

Fundamental Mathematics
20 credits

The Foundation Mathematics module provides the basic knowledge and mathematical skills which will equip the students to continue their studies to an undergraduate programme. The module will be focused on mathematics related to the field of computing.

The interactive taught sessions will use fundamental mathematical in discussions to broaden understanding of the theory and practice introduced in the module. Additional support materials will be made available on the module Moodle website.

Download the full module specification

Academic and Personal Study Skills
20 credits

Academic and personal study skills are essential elements which should be applied in order to be successful in Higher Education. This module aims to help you in developing basic research skills, academic writing and reflection skills. These skills are inevitably important and will support your transition to the higher education levels of study associated with your chosen degree programme.

Download the full module specification

Web Application Design
20 credits

This module provides the skills necessary to design a web based application around a clear understanding of the business information requirements, a structured design of an interface and the development skills necessary to implement a solution.

This module focuses on varied technologies relating to the design and development of application to meet the information needs of a business. The module will analyse and design an application that meets current web standards.

Download the full module specification

Technology in Context
20 credits

This module will provide you with an introduction to the computing environment, different computing disciplines, and how they relate to each other. The module will consider how technology operates within their context, which will allow you to develop a broad approach to understanding how technology works and inform your future degree and career choice.

Download the full module specification

Independent Practice
20 credits

During the journey within higher education, developing your independent study is an essential skill to support shaping the knowledge to become more useful and applied within practice. This module aims to provide you with necessary skills and tips that should support you to work independently within your discipline and to successfully apply project management tools and techniques to a mini project related to your subject discipline.

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Foundations of Programming
20 credits

Foundations of programming aims to provide you with the fundamental principles and practice-based activities needed to begin developing software programs. The module details the anatomy of a structured software program that includes the creation of a program algorithm, a logical, simple and organised program flow and the generation of pseudo and programming code.

The module uses a combination of theory and practice-based sessions designed to engage students in group and individual activities to identify the components of a software program and to apply their knowledge into hands-on software programming activities. During the module sessions you will acquire the basic skills to design and create software programs.

Download the full module specification

Year one

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).

Computer Systems
20 credits

Within the Computer Systems Module, you will gain knowledge and experience of computers and computer hardware.

This module presents a holistic view of how computer systems work and it also provides the underpinning knowledge required:

  • for the design of computer architecture
  • to show how software interacts with hardware
  • to apply electronics principles
  • to use number systems for computer technology

Download the full module specification

Mathematics for Computing
20 credits

The module gives you the opportunity to learn mathematical concepts and methods and critically reflect on how they relate to computing and communication systems. You will develop core mathematical and statistical skills which are fundamental in computing and technical work in general. You will be expected to solve mathematical and statistical problems on paper and on a computer.

Download the full module specification

Computer Programming
20 credits

This introductory computer programming module provides the underpinning knowledge and practice for computing students to design, build and test software components. The module will make use of practical sessions primarily to allow you to apply programming principles and constructs in order to creatively solve problems by means of developing small programs. Module content and assessment enables learners to acquire programming skills in a modern imperative language.

Download the full module specification

Network Fundamentals
20 credits

The module provides the opportunity to learn and critically reflect the skills required in building and designing basic networks and their requirements within a network infrastructure. This module builds on the underpinning knowledge and theory of networking systems.

The module consists of:

  • Subject specific lectures/laboratory sessions to introduce knowledge and skills relevant to network and information systems, along with communication architecture
  • Lectures/laboratory sessions to introduce principles and techniques for information communication within a network and ensuring effective communication
  • Global view on information system communication.

Download the full module specification

Applied Operating Systems
20 credits

In this module, you learn how modern operating systems are the glue that bind computer hardware and networks together and how they manage the user experience for individual computers and wider networks. We will focus on the function and purpose of operating systems, with a focus on hands-on practical skills. We will build on learning from your networking, programming and computer systems modules, enhancing and extending skills in all these areas. You will make heavy use of Open Source Software, demonstrating what can be achieved with this huge publicly shareable resource on a very limited budget.

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Innovation Project
20 credits

This first-year project allows you to develop and cultivate a creative mind-set through collaborative innovative practice, allowing you to bring together knowledge and imagination to construct a viable product. It is an opportunity to express your ideas, skills and talent to the wider community of innovative practice.

The project provides you with an opportunity to be part of a thriving community of innovators that practices connected learning. This is facilitated by putting you into inter-disciplinary project teams supported by innovation mentors, advisors and academics; culminating in you exhibiting your work to an international panel of experts.

Download the full module specification

Year two

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).

Smart Systems
20 credits

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of connected computing devices, electromechanical, digital machines, objects with the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. It is estimated that by 2020 there will approx. 50 billion IoT devices. This module will provide knowledge and skills for the research, synthesis and evaluation of solutions incorporating internet communication systems and devices that can be used to make informed and wise decisions.

Download the full module specification

Server Systems
20 credits

Within the module Server Systems, you will learn that servers are the engines that deliver the data of the worldwide Internet and cloud revolution. In this module you will learn how to design, configure and troubleshoot servers to provide both the data and network services required in modern networks. You will spend a lot of time actually configuring and troubleshooting servers in this module to give you the hands-on skills required by industry. This will be backed up by theory delivered via videos and reading and short lectures.

Download the full module specification

Programming for Network Engineers
20 credits

This module builds on your foundational programming knowledge and skills developed during the Level 4 Computer Programming module to extend and focus these towards the area of network engineering. It provides an essential skillset for network engineers to manage and develop networks/networking applications. This aids the management of complex networks by allowing the automation of regular tasks and the potential reduction of human error when configuring multiple devices.

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Enterprise Network Systems
20 credits

This module allows you to examine network technology, applications and protocols to enable you to gain a thorough understanding of the developments in this area. Routing and switching will be investigated theoretically and practically using a variety of different network operating systems and devices. The module content builds on the networking technologies introduced previously, and focuses on developing design and implementation skills relevant to achieving industry certification applicable to small and medium enterprise networks.

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Networking Technologies
20 credits

In this module you will have the opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills required for Network Technologies. This module builds your knowledge and underpinning theory for the networking modules and you will review the requirements from a small to medium scale network deployment engineering context.

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Enterprise Practice Project
20 credits

This module forms part of the Research and Enterprise strand that runs through each programme curriculum from level 4 to 7. It builds on the core concepts, which were introduced to you at level 4 in the practice based computing related modules and the underpinning role innovation plays in this.

As you have chosen to major in developing your technical capability, knowledge and skills required for you chosen career path, this module is designed to draw upon your technical learning framework through Reflection, Evaluation, Entrepreneurialism and Management (REEM). REEM forms the principles of this module allowing you to explore and to further build on your strengths and achievements to pursue excellence in a professional context.

Download the full module specification

Year three

In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).

Data Centre Systems Management
20 credits

A Data Centre (DC) is the Infrastructure supporting the Application Ecosystem (AE). It is a facility that centralises an organisation's IT operations and equipment, as well as where it stores, manages, and disseminates its data. Data centres house a network's most critical systems and are vital to the continuity of daily operations.

In this module, you will learn how to:

  • Research case studies
  • Design and develop a solution to meet a business client needs
  • Troubleshoot a solution
  • Analyse industry standard Data Centre systems and technologies
  • Present your findings.

Download the full module specification

Consultancy and IT Management
20 credits

This module enables you to gain an understanding of the processes, scope and role when providing guidance or advice in a professional consulting capacity. It will also assist you if you join a larger organisation with the aspiration to become a leader and manager.

The module provides awareness on the wider consulting profession and practice, the consulting role in computing and the management of client relationships. The focus will be to analyse and evaluate the frameworks, processes and techniques applied by computing consultants, managers and leaders.

Download the full module specification

Wireless Networking Technologies
20 credits

The module gives you an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of wireless network design. This module builds on the knowledge and underpinning theory from the networking modules and reviews the requirements for a secure wireless network communication system.

The module consists of:

  • Subject specific lectures/workshops to introduce knowledge and skills relevant to wireless networking and the corresponding state of the art technologies.
  • Lectures/workshops to introduce principles and techniques for secure communication within a wireless network and ensuring security of data in transit.
  • Global view on information security and the changing requirements for information and data communication security.

Download the full module specification

IT Infrastructure
20 credits

In this module, you will learn how to:

  • Research case studies,
  • Design and develop a solution to meet a business client needs,
  • Troubleshoot a solution,
  • Analysing modern infrastructure technologies used in industry,
  • Present your findings.

This module prepares you for industry by guest lectures, industry talks, industrial visits and real life case studies. The case studies and assessments have been designed in collaboration with practising IT Consultants and IT Architects.

Download the full module specification

Individual Honours Project
40 credits

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and research-informed project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. In agreement with your supervisor, you will decide upon your topic which will take the form of a practical outcome (artefact) with accompanying contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be aligned to the programme you are studying, and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.

At this level, you will be expected to work independently but you will receive additional one-to-one support from your supervisor, who will be familiar with your chosen topic area. As you progress on the module, extra support will be available and this may take the form of group seminars, workshops and online materials that will help to develop your project. 

Download the full module specification

We think it’s important that you are assessed in a number of different ways during your course. These will include continuous assessment, in-class tests, examinations, laboratory exercises and project work.

Attendance requirements

There are 30 attendance weeks in each academic year.

A typical week on this course will include 12 hours of contact time over three or four days, plus self study time.

Further Study

At course completion, there is a high level of interest for further study. This relates to the need to continue to research and practice as a core activity, but also recognises statistical evidence in 2014 from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills which noted that someone with a Master’s degree earns on average £9,000 more per year than someone with a degree qualification, which, when coupled with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (2014) observation that one in seven jobs will require a postgraduate qualification by 2022, shows that the contribution of postgraduate study to employability is increasingly significant.

International Opportunities

Our Erasmus scheme will allow you to undertake part of your studies abroad, allowing you to experience life and studying in another EU country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance a student’s CV and experience new cultures.

Phillip Bridges

Cisco expert Phillip Bridges can’t recommend hands-on experience highly enough. He made full use of our impressive lab facilities and an invaluable Cisco internship to hone the skills that employers prize.

Enhancing your employability

You will benefit during your studies from strong links with companies such as SAS, SAP, Xbox, Samsung, Intel and NEC, keeping your course relevant, real-life and respected by employers.

Your studies here will equip you with the practical and academic skills that will help you to stand out when you look for your first professional role.

Because we have strong links with companies such as SAS, Microsoft Studios, SAP, Xbox, Samsung, Intel and NEC, you have the chance to work with and understand the workings of real-life industry from early on in your degree studies.

The University has a Graduate+ programme, an extracurricular awards framework that is designed to augment the subject-based skills that you’ve developed throughout the programme with broader employability attributes, which will enhance your employability options upon graduating.

Placements

You have the option undertake an assessed sandwich year between your second and third year, which will provide you with valuable work experience and give you the real-life skills you need.

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate jobs

Our students have gone on to work at companies such as Cisco Systems, Cisco Meraki, Capgemini, Reply, BT, Vodafone, SCC, Logicalis and Lloyds Bank.

The broad scope of the topics covered throughout the programme will leave you well-equipped to take on roles such as network administrator, network services engineer, network architect, network support analyst, data centre engineer, storage and virtualisation analyst, technical infrastructure architect, Linux network administrator, field network technician, service desk analyst, solutions architect and IT infrastructure specialist.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our computer networks course is most popular with international students from:

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. This course will be taught at Millennium Point at the City Centre Campus.

As a student at the School of Computing and Digital Technology, you have access to networked laboratories equipped to industry standards and running the latest software, giving you the best possible introduction to the technologies you will encounter in the world of work.

Dedicated facilities are provided for systems analysis, computer networks, programming in a wide range of languages, artificial intelligence, modelling and visual programming, e-commerce and .net environments, and business intelligence, as well as supporting the application areas of mechatronics, games technology, electronics and computer forensics.

Computer networking

The laboratories are well-equipped for all our computer networking courses, as well as specialist areas for practical work such as voice-over internet protocol (VoIP), forensic and ethical hacking technologies, wireless and mobile technologies and radio frequency identification technologies to name but a few.

Software development and computer programming

There are a number of open access, software development and computer programming
laboratories that can be used to develop systems and programmes, including database management systems such as MySQL, to name but a few.

Systems laboratories

Our embedded systems laboratories are used to develop real-time systems, such as specialist hardware training and development resources, and industrial-standard software development and simulation tools. These include microcontroller software and robotics design and development, to name but a few.

Electronic Systems

Electronic systems

To underpin the basic principles of electronic systems, we have a well-equipped laboratory of general and specialist test and measurement kits, including powered prototyping development boards, dual power supplies, frequency generators and counters and digital multi-meters to name but a few.

Forensic computing

Our successful development of forensic computing has led to a specialist forensics laboratory that is fully equipped with essential hardware and software for this sensitive area of study. The laboratory includes high-spec PC’s with built-in multi interface Tableau write blockers, EnCase and FTK computer forensic software and steganography detection and analysis software, to name but a few.

More on our facilities

Ron Austin

Associate Professor

Senior lecturer Ron Austin is the Associate Professor of the MSc Data Networks and Security course and teaches all network-related courses.

His expertise and areas of interest include: Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), security technologies, and forensic and ethical hacking.

Prior to joining Birmingham City University, Ron spent 17 years in network management systems for companies including Telewest and Cable & Wireless.