NTL is a US listed company providing cable services. It is listed on the NYSE, but does the majority of its business in the UK and Ireland, and also has divisions in Europe, Australia and South East Asia.
The company is called NTL Group Ltd. This is made up of 3 major divisions, Home, Business and Broadcast.
Home provides telephone, Internet, digital television and radio services to residential premises via cable.
- Business offers communication packages to commercial clients.
Broadcast owns and maintains masts and towers which house dishes and antennae, as well as larger satellite dishes, which provide television, telephone and radio signals.
NTL was founded in 1993 as International CableTel Inc (trading name: CableTel) by Barclay Knapp and George Blumenthal , the founders of the cellular network company Cellular Communications, Inc. (sold to Airtouch in 1996). CableTel was founded to take advantage of the deregulation of the UK cable business. Franchises were acquired covering the London area and parts of Scotland and Wales. In 1998 the business was renamed NTL. The new name was an abbreviation of National Transcommunications Limited, the privatised UK Independent Broadcasting Authority transmission network which CableTel had acquired previously. The company spent heavily on both expanding its network and acquiring rivals. Its UK network is built of a 7,800km fibre backbone and has the potential to reach 8.4 million residential homes and around 600,000 businesses. The company began to expand outside of the UK in 2000, buying into markets on continental Europe and also in Ireland.
The collapse of the telecommunications markets from mid-2000 was a serious blow to the company. Devalued and struggling with debts of around $18bn NTL was forced to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 2002 in order to organise a refinancing deal. The company did not emerge from protection until January 2003, having converted around $11bn of debt into shares in what was, technically, the largest debt default in US corporate history. the company's debt was reduced to $6.4bn. NTL itself was reorganised into NTL Inc. covering the UK and Irish markets and NTL Europe Inc. for the French, Swiss and German parts of the business. The NTL president and CEO, Barclay Knapp, as well as Stephen Carter, the MD and COO, were replaced.
Since exiting from Chapter 11, NTL has produced an operating profit. In 2004 plans were announced to split the Broadcast division off from the main company. In December of 2004 NTL sold their Broadcast unit to a consortium led by Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group (MCG) for £1.27 billion. This sale will allow NTL to focus on their 'core businesses' of providing communications packages and cable services. There are also rumours of a takeover bid/ merger offer with rival Telewest, possibly in early 2005. It is also expected that NTL will sell their Ireland operations for around EURO 300 million.
In autumn 2004, NTL purchased virgin.net .
Current speeds offered are 1 Mbit/s, 2 Mbit/s and 3 Mbit/s with prices at £17.99, £24.99 and £37.99 respectively. Customers were upgraded for no charge from the previous 300 Kbit/s, 750 Kbit/s and 1.5 Mbit/s tariffs in March 2005. Originally, a £25.00 "administration fee" was planned, however, after BT, AOL, and other ISPs announced similar speed increases during February 2005, NTL decided to drop the charge. Usage guidelines have been introduced at 3GB per month, 1GB per day and 1GB per day respectively, and it is thought that hard capping will be implemented later in the year on the 1Mbit/s speed. In the future, an additional "introduction speed" of 300 Kbit/s will be added, costing £15.99 per month.
Last updated: 06-02-2005 17:39:04