Originally Posted by icdg
I wrote a lot of stuff on this for the old ICDG website, it might still be on the net somewhere...
I did a family tree there, but it doesn't format properly so I might as well give a brief history of Chorus and NTL.
NTL Ireland had its roots in RTÉ's cable operation, RTÉ Relays, which began in 1970. RTÉ later took over three other cable companies, Dublin Cable Systems (Phoenix-Marlin), Waterford Cablevision, and Galway Cablevision. In 1986 all these companies became Cablelink. In 1990 RTÉ sold a 60% share in Cablelink to Telecom and in 1999 RTÉ and Telecom were ordered to sell the company, the winners being NTL (now Virgin Media).
Chorus has its roots in the Independent Newspapers/TCI buy-up of MMDS franchises under their joint venture Princes Holdings (Horizon Multichannel and East Coast Multichannel) operations in the early 1990s. The cable side came from stakes Princes Holdings built up in Cork Communications which had been established as far back as the early 1980s and Westward Cable which dated from the same era. By the mid 1990s, Princes Holdings operations were all dual branded under the "Multichannel" brand and by the late 1990s they had moved to a single "Irish Multichannel" brand. Meanwhile, outside of Cork and Limerick, lots of the small town cable companies had been both by the CMI (Cable Management Ireland) group which was back by a group of Irish investors including none other than Mike Murphy of RTÉ fame. In 2000, Irish Multichannel bought CMI and another small operator, Suir Nore Relays and became Chorus.
Independent sold its 50% share of Chorus in 2004 to Liberty Global which had grew out of the international operations of TCI. Then, when NTL put the Irish operation up for sale, Liberty Global snapped at the chance to buy and did so in 2005. The two companies ran seperately before beginning an integration process which led to them both being rebranded Chorus NTL in 2007. It is assumed they will be eventually rebranded UPC Ireland, but a final date for that to happen has yet to be announced.
Only a couple of points to add:
RTE were commissioned to cable the Ballymun flats in (I think) 1968 or so. Thus RTE Relays was born. Two other large operators (Marlin and Phoenix) subsequently covered sections of Dublin at the time.
Marlin cabled the first major City outside Dublin (Waterford) in 1974, when the 500 homes to one mast rule was abolished.
These were subsequently bought in the mid-70s by Premier Cablevision of Canada.
Marlin and Phoenix merged, and the merged operation was bought in 1981 by Rogers Cablesystems of Canada. This also brought the then-Waterford Cablevision into the fold. Cork, Galway, and Limerick did not exist at this point.
Over the next few years Cork was cabled (Cork Multichannel) in, I think 1984/5. Around the same time Galway commenced (Connaught Multichannel) and then Limerick (Westward Cables).
In 1984, the story goes, Rogers wanted the rest of Dublin and RTE refused. Rogers then said to RTE that they were out - and RTE bought the then- Cablesystems (Dublin and Waterford). Galway was bought, I think, in 1986 or so. Cablelink was born.
Westward Cables was then taken over by Horizon, then Princes Holdings, and Cork/Limerick became Irish Multichannel. Irish Multichannel subsequently bought up the majority of the smaller operators around the country.
Chorus was born.
And subsequently bought by UPC in 2005.
NTL bought Cablelink in 1999 and sold it to UPC in 2006.
I stand corrected, but I think that is the correct sequence.
But what no-one has mentioned here is an Irish operator which is (and has been for thirty years) at the cutting edge of Cable TV/broadband in this country.
In 1979 Casey Cablevision built what was then the longest TV Cable line in Europe (BBC/ITV received at Seefin in the Comeragh Mountains and transported to Dungarvan, County Waterford), 16 miles in length, only superseded by the link to Cork some years later, which was one of the longest in the world at 60 miles.
These lines were built due to the draconian laws in force regarding the use of microwave at the time. In hindsight the laws were idiotic. The money spent on building these humongous 'super-trunks' could have been better invested in the networks proper - but this was 1970s/80s Ireland....and Europe.
The Casey family remain at the forefront, with speeds of 30 Megs and one of the most modern cable systems in the world. And we constantly complain about lack of innovation in this country.