@David Simpson 1
"No-one gave Virgin a monopoly on cable either, Telewest and NTL also paid cash money to have fibre optic cables installed in people's streets the resulting debt is what forced their merger with Virgin."
Funnilly enough Telewest and NTL were not responsible for laying most of the cable. Most of that work was carried out by smaller local companies, Jones Cable and Yorkshire Cable round here. At the time the idea seemed to be to sell cable rights in small local areas, whish would avoid the problems associated with a monolithic entity like BT running the whole shebang. Good idea.
In pretty short order various mergers and aquisitions meant that we had first two huge companies and finally one, Virgin Meeja, running things. The original poster's comment is perfectly valid. This situation should not have been allowed to arise. The Competition Commission (or whatever they are called this week) could have prevented it at the time. Or at least done the right thing and forced Virgin to seperate it's network arm from the rest of the business and throw open the "last mile" of the network for competitors to use.
Likewise Sky should never have been allowed to buy BSB, oh sorry I clearly meant "merge with BSB".
The whole area of regulation of cable is a joke. Although it was supposed to be the case that all new homes would have cable no structure was put in place to make this enforcible. The joke is that in some cases developers bothered to lay in cable infrastructure but then Virgin, NTL, Telewest or their predecessors refused to connect this into their network. It seems the prospect future of revenues was outweighed by having to spend a few grand putting a cabinet at the end of the street.
It seems that any significant expansion of the cable network is never going to happen. I used to be a cable customer, but when I moved four years ago I found that my new address was not served by cable. I enquired about the future prospects for cable installation and was told "we plan to install cable in that area some time in the next three years". At some time in those three years it changed to being "we intend to expand our network to cover than postcode, but can't say when" and then to "we do not serve that postcode". Now of course they are happy to offer me ADSL, which I suspect is the death knell for cable expansion. The offer "up to 20Mbps", but once given my postcode that became "up to 6.5Mbps", compared with the rock solid 8Mbps I get at the moment? Well that's a no brainer then. I'm on a direct copper connection to the exchange (no jointing at all) of well under 1mile so where they get 6.5Mbps is anybody's guess.