Behind the Virgin Group’s Virgin Net internet service, which celebrated its first birthday earlier this week (CI No 3,293), lies a joint venture that sees communications company NTL Inc with a 49% stake in the company. While Virgin Net takes care of the web site contents and the marketing, the internet division of NTL looks after everything else, including the provision of the network, all the internet access software and the call center. The network currently in place uses a switched multi-megabit data services SMDS model, but NTL is busy changing that over to an asynchronous transfer mode ATM network. NTL consists of six divisions; Internet, Cable Television, National Telecommunications, Broadcast, Wireless and Satellite. It now trades out of New York, but is the UK’s sixth largest cable company. Virgin originally struck its deal with International CableTel Inc (CI No 3,020), which acquired the UK’s National Transcommunications Ltd in March 1996, and then borrowed its name. NTL runs a number of similar consumer internet ventures, including Which Online and Cable Online.
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