NTL takes control of

Buys out Virgin Group is now fully under the control of NTL after the cableco snapped up the remaining 51 per cent of its joint venture ISP. Financial details were not disclosed.

NTL and Virgin hooked up in 1996 to form the JV, which now has some 590,000 customers. Now, the cableco has complete ownership of but intends to carry on using the Virgin brand.

NTL chief exec Simon Duffy, said: "This is a very good acquisition for NTL. has a strong presence in the internet arena, underpinned by a powerful brand name and an outstanding team. I welcome them to NTL and look forward to their participation in the business.

"I am confident will accelerate our growth by giving us access to new market segments, thereby complementing our strategy of extending our network through local loop unbundling."

Last week NTL announced plans to invest £65m on installing its kit in BT exchanges to provide telecoms services direct to customers. The "last mile" investment is expected to take two years to complete with NTL believing that it is cheaper to invest in local loop unbundling (LLU) than physically rolling out cable to extend its own network.

Also last week, Virgin unveiled a new ADSL package called "Plan Two", which offers a 512k broadband service for £17.99 a month with no 12 month contract and a three gig cap. ®

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