Recent research by the cable TV provider showed that the growth in new digital TV channels is set to continue, creating a scarcity of satellite capacity on both Astra and Eurobird.
Simon Thrush, head of satellite and playout at NTL, said: 'We expect up to 40 channels a year to be launched. At that rate there'll be no available room within three years.'
The lease deal is expected to last between 10 and 15 years. Thrush would not confirm the level of investment except to say that it was 'a major commitment and essential for current and future growth'.
The new lease will allow the company to provide 10 channels with a full end-to-end solution for the first time.
Thrush also believed that the imminent shortage would make providers with bundled services more attractive.