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Rival ISPs Virgin Media and Sky have fired their first broadsides in the battle to capture a slice of the lucrative Christmas market.

Earlier this year, Sky withdrew its premium channels from Virgin Media's broadband bundles - an event that signalled the onset of an increasingly bitter spat between the two firms.

Competition between Virgin Media and Sky recently become more rancorous, with both firms complaining about 'misleading claims' in each other's advertising - now, with the two firms this week launching new campaigns, more sniping can't be far behind.

Latterly, Sky has been heavily pushing its £19 broadband See, Speak, Surf offer, which promises 100 channels of quality TV, free broadband up to 2Mb and free evening and weekend calls to UK landlines.

Meanwhile, Virgin Media has this week launched a print campaign focussing on its offer of broadband access for £4.50 per month when the customer also signs up for its phone service - priced at £11 per month.

Most recent figures from Virgin Media pegged its subscriber base at 3,590,000, making it the second-largest ISP in the UK, while Sky has 1 million customers.

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