Wales is a country, part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Bristol Channel to the south, it had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2. Wales has over 1,680 miles of coastline and is mountainous, with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon, its highest summit; the country has a changeable, maritime climate. Welsh national identity emerged among the Britons after the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century, Wales is regarded as one of the modern Celtic nations. Llywelyn ap Gruffudd's death in 1282 marked the completion of Edward I of England's conquest of Wales, though Owain Glyndŵr restored independence to Wales in the early 15th century; the whole of Wales was annexed by England and incorporated within the English legal system under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. Distinctive Welsh politics developed in the 19th century. Welsh liberalism, exemplified in the early 20th century by Lloyd George, was displaced by the growth of socialism and the Labour Party.
Welsh national feeling grew over the century. Established under the Government of Wales Act 1998, the National Assembly for Wales holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, development of the mining and metallurgical industries transformed the country from an agricultural society into an industrial nation. Two-thirds of the population live in South Wales, including Cardiff, Swansea and the nearby valleys. Now that the country's traditional extractive and heavy industries have gone or are in decline, Wales' economy depends on the public sector and service industries and tourism. Although Wales shares its political and social history with the rest of Great Britain, a majority of the population in most areas speaks English as a first language, the country has retained a distinct cultural identity and is bilingual. Over 560,000 Welsh language speakers live in Wales, the language is spoken by a majority of the population in parts of the north and west.
From the late 19th century onwards, Wales acquired its popular image as the "land of song", in part due to the eisteddfod tradition. At many international sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup, Rugby World Cup and the Commonwealth Games, Wales has its own national teams, though at the Olympic Games, Welsh athletes compete as part of a Great Britain team. Rugby union is seen as an expression of national consciousness; the English words "Wales" and "Welsh" derive from the same Germanic root, itself derived from the name of the Gaulish people known to the Romans as Volcae and which came to refer indiscriminately to all non-Germanic peoples. The Old English-speaking Anglo-Saxons came to use the term Wælisc when referring to the Britons in particular, Wēalas when referring to their lands; the modern names for some Continental European lands and peoples have a similar etymology. In Britain, the words were not restricted to modern Wales or to the Welsh but were used to refer to anything that the Anglo-Saxons associated with the Britons, including other non-Germanic territories in Britain and places in Anglo-Saxon territory associated with Britons, as well as items associated with non-Germanic Europeans, such as the walnut.
The modern Welsh name for themselves is Cymry, Cymru is the Welsh name for Wales. These words are descended from the Brythonic word combrogi, meaning "fellow-countrymen"; the use of the word Cymry as a self-designation derives from the location in the post-Roman Era of the Welsh people in modern Wales as well as in northern England and southern Scotland. It emphasised that the Welsh in modern Wales and in the Hen Ogledd were one people, different from other peoples. In particular, the term was not applied to the Cornish or the Breton peoples, who are of similar heritage and language to the Welsh; the word came into use as a self-description before the 7th century. It is attested in a praise poem to Cadwallon ap Cadfan c. 633. In Welsh literature, the word Cymry was used throughout the Middle Ages to describe the Welsh, though the older, more generic term Brythoniaid continued to be used to describe any of the Britonnic peoples and was the more common literary term until c. 1200. Thereafter Cymry prevailed as a reference to the Welsh.
Until c. 1560 the word was spelt Kymry or Cymry, regardless of whether it referred to the people or their homeland. The Latinised forms of these names, Cambrian and Cambria, survive as lesser-used alternative names for Wales and the Welsh people. Examples include the Cambrian Mountains, the newspaper Cambrian News, the organisations Cambrian Airways, Cambrian Railways, Cambrian Archaeological Association and the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art. Outside Wales, a related form survives as the name Cumbria in North West England, once a part of Yr Hen Ogledd; the Cumbric language, thought to
Digital radio in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, the roll-out of digital radio is proceeding since engineering test transmissions were started by the BBC in 1990 followed by a public launch in September 1995. The UK has the world's biggest digital radio network, with 103 transmitters, three national DAB ensembles and 48 local and regional DAB ensembles broadcasting over 250 commercial and 34 BBC radio stations across the UK. In the capital, London there are more than 64 different digital stations available. In addition to DAB and DAB+, radio stations are broadcast on digital television platform as well as internet radio in the UK. Digital radio ensemble operators and stations need a broadcasting licence from the UK's media regulator Ofcom to broadcast. In the long term there will be a switchover from analogue to digital radio when the AM and FM services will cease; the government has set criteria on the coverage and proportion of digital listening before this occurs. In 2018 the criteria of over 50% of digital radio listening was met which will now require the UK Government to review digital radio in view of a potential switchover.
In the same year, the BBC stated. Digital radio in the United Kingdom is being promoted by radio stations and the broadcasting industry on the premise that it provides superior quality sound over AM, a wider choice of radio stations, is easier to use, is resistant to the interference which other broadcast media are susceptible to. On the other hand, critics say that coverage is not yet sufficient and the quality can be less than that of FM. In the UK, 50.9% of all radio listening hours by the first quarter of 2018 were through digital platforms, with DAB making up for the majority of digital radio listening, 63.7% of UK households claim to have access to a DAB radio set. However in the second quarter, digital listening had dropped back to 50.2% Experimental transmissions of the DAB Eureka 147 standard from the Crystal Palace transmitting station by the BBC started in 1990 with permanent transmissions covering London in September 1995. With the expansion of its single-frequency network in the spring of 1998, the BBC national ensemble was available to 65% of the UK population by 2001, 85% by 2004 and 96.4% by 2015.
DAB+ full-time broadcasts began in 2016. The Broadcasting Act of 1996 allowed the introduction of national and local commercial ensembles in the United Kingdom; the first national ensemble licence for DAB from the Radio Authority was advertised in 1998 and one applicant applied for the licence. The licence was awarded to the GWR Group and NTL Broadcast, who since the launch were renamed Arqiva; the two companies formed the Digital One ensemble, which began broadcasting on 15 November 1999. The Digital One ensemble has grown and is available to over 90% of the UK population although an Ofcom report into Digital Radio in 2015 puts robust household coverage at 89.8% of the UK. In the United Kingdom, the uptake of DAB has increased since the launch of the BBC national DAB ensemble in 1995. Lower prices, new radio stations and marketing have increased the uptake of DAB radio in the UK. Digital radios were first sold as car radios in 1997, priced around £800, with hi-fi tuners costing up to £2,000 being released two years later.
In 2001, Digital One invested in Frontier Silicon to produce a new processing chip which would allow cheaper portable radios to be produced. Roberts Radio, Goodmans and in 2002, Pure Digital's award-winning Evoke series of radios broke the £100 price barrier, DAB take up has increased since; the BBC and other DAB broadcasters have been encouraging DAB take up by promoting a number of features which are either new or improve upon former technology in their sales literature. The benefit of DAB is that due to the use of multiplexing technology and encoding technology, broadcasters including the BBC and EMAP have been able to launch exclusive digital radio stations alongside their existing analogue radio stations. Broadcasters state that DAB offers better reception, without the problems of interference that are more noticeable through analogue radio. DAB radios come with features such as station lists, so listeners do not need to retune their receivers, as well as scrolling text, providing information such as breaking news, travel information or the latest track information.
DAB has been marketed as having two major advantages over analogue radio broadcasting in that using MPEG-1 Audio Layer II lossy audio compression technology and more DAB+ using High-Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding, parts of the audio spectrum that cannot be heard by humans are discarded, meaning less data needs to be sent over the air. This, as well as multiplexing technology, allows a number of channels to be broadcast together on one frequency as opposed to one channel for analogue radio broadcasts. National and regional DAB ensembles use the same frequency for the area they cover. Using a single-frequency network, an ensemble broadcasting a number of stations can cover the same area as a number of FM frequencies which would be required to cover the same area for one station; the BBC carried out successful tests of a single-frequency network in London before launching its national DAB ensemble. DAB audibly provides worse audio quality than FM in the UK because all stereo stations use a bit rate of 128 kbit/s or lower with the MP2 audio codec.
Most commercial stations use 112 kbit/s. A bit rate of 256 kbit/s has been judged to provide a high quality stereo broadcast signal. A large and growing number of music stations are only transmitting in mono. Indeed, the bit rates used by the radio stations on other digital platforms, such as cable and satellite are higher than on DAB, so the audio quality is higher
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1970. Their classic line-up was Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon, their earliest works were influenced by progressive rock, hard rock and heavy metal, but the band ventured into more conventional and radio-friendly works by incorporating further styles, such as arena rock and pop rock. Before forming Queen and Taylor had played together in the band Smile. Mercury was a fan of Smile and encouraged them to experiment with more elaborate stage and recording techniques, he joined in 1970 and suggested the name "Queen". Deacon was recruited before the band recorded their eponymous debut album in 1973. Queen first charted in the UK with their second album, Queen II, in 1974. Sheer Heart Attack that year and A Night at the Opera in 1975 brought them international success; the latter featured "Bohemian Rhapsody", which stayed at number one in the UK for nine weeks and helped popularise the music video format. The band’s 1977 album News of the World contained "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions", which have become anthems at sporting events.
By the early 1980s, Queen were one of the biggest stadium rock bands in the world. "Another One Bites the Dust" became their best-selling single, while their 1981 compilation album Greatest Hits is the best-selling album in the UK and is certified eight times platinum in the US. Their performance at the 1985 Live Aid concert has been ranked among the greatest in rock history by various publications. In August 1986, Mercury gave his last performance with Queen at England. In 1991, he died of bronchopneumonia, a complication of AIDS, Deacon retired in 1997. Since 2004, May and Taylor have toured under the "Queen +" name with vocalists Paul Rodgers and Adam Lambert. Estimates of Queen's record sales range from 170 million to 300 million records, making them one of the world's best-selling music artists. Queen received the Outstanding Contribution to British Music Award from the British Phonographic Industry in 1990, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Each member has composed hit singles, all four were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003.
In 2005, Queen received the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Song Collection from the British Academy of Songwriters and Authors. In 2018, they were presented the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1968, guitarist Brian May, a student at London's Imperial College, bassist Tim Staffell decided to form a band. May placed an advertisement on a college notice board for a "Mitch Mitchell/Ginger Baker type" drummer; the group called themselves Smile. While attending Ealing Art College in west London, Tim Staffell became friends with Farrokh “Freddie” Bulsara, a fellow student from Zanzibar of Indian Parsi descent. Bulsara, working as a baggage handler at London’s Heathrow Airport, felt that he and the band had the same tastes and soon became a keen fan of Smile. In 1970, after Staffell left to join the band Humpy Bong, the remaining Smile members, encouraged by now-member Bulsara, changed their name to "Queen" and performed their first gig on 18 July; the band had a number of bass players during this period.
It was not until February 1971 that they settled on John Deacon and began to rehearse for their first album. They recorded four of their own songs, "Liar", "Keep Yourself Alive", "The Night Comes Down" and "Jesus", for a demo tape, it was around this time Freddie changed his surname to "Mercury", inspired by the line "Mother Mercury, look what they've done to me" in the song "My Fairy King". On 2 July 1971, Queen played their first show in the classic line-up of Mercury, May and Deacon at a Surrey college outside London. Having attended art college, Mercury designed Queen's logo, called the Queen crest, shortly before the release of the band's first album; the logo combines the zodiac signs of all four members: two lions for Leo, a crab for Cancer, two fairies for Virgo. The lions embrace a stylised letter Q, the crab rests atop the letter with flames rising directly above it, the fairies are each sheltering below a lion. There is a crown inside the Q and the whole logo is over-shadowed by an enormous phoenix.
The whole symbol bears a passing resemblance to the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom with the lion supporters. The original logo, as found on the reverse-side of the cover of the band's first album, was a simple line drawing. Sleeves bore more intricate-coloured versions of the logo. In 1972, Queen entered discussions with Trident Studios after being spotted at De Lane Lea Studios by John Anthony. After these discussions, Norman Sheffield offered the band a management deal under Neptune Productions, a subsidiary of Trident, to manage the band and enable them to use the facilities at Trident to record new material, whilst the management searched for a record label to sign Queen; this suited both parties, as Trident were expanding into management, under the deal, Queen were able to make use of the hi-tech recording facilities used by other musicians such as the Beatles and Elton John to produce new material. Roger Taylor described these early off-peak studio hours as "gold dust". In 1973, Queen signed to a deal with Trident/EMI.
By July of that year, they released their eponymous debut album, an effort influenced by heavy metal and progressive rock. The album was received well by critics.
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
Nigel Mitchell is a British television and radio presenter and voice-over artist. Nigel was born in Kingston Upon Thames, he attended Shrewsbury House School in Surbiton, from where he gained a scholarship to Reed's School in Cobham, Surrey at the age of 13. Nigel started his TV career as a presenter on the kid's television station, Nickelodeon at the age of 15. Nigel left Nickelodeon to present'Sticky' on CITV. Sticky was a live magazine show produced by 70's TV personality Mick Robertson; the show was co-presented by Gail Jez Edwards. Nigel returned to ITV to present Mad for It and'Twister' for children's television. Nigel went on to Disney Channel in 1997 to host Studio Disney and remained with the channel until the live shows were ended in May 2005. Studio Disney featured live games, special guests and live performances. Whilst at Disney Nigel hosted an awards ceremony called the Disney Channel Kids Awards. Nigel was a regular presenter on Sky's Film 24 channel looking at upcoming movies and interviewing the stars before the premieres.
Interviews include Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson. Nigel works with Arsenal Football Club as the pitch side presenter at Emirates Stadium, he hosts Arsenal World. Nigel presented The Hub on the ITV morning show Information on the radio presenting Nigel has presented during his career. Most Nigel has covered shows on the network. Nigel's broadcast across Cambridgeshire when he covered the afternoon show for Sue Dougan, Bank Holidays and the Saturday Summer Sport programme. Nigel worked for Fox FM in Oxford during 2008. Nigel hosted the breakfast show when Capital Disney launched in 2002 and throughout Capital Disney's time on air he hosted live shows across the weekend and'The Friday Afternoon Thing.' Producer, Andrew Rendle, nicknamed Radio Rendle, was part of the show every weekend. Whilst at school Nigel was given the chance to host his own shows on Kingston FM, Palace FM and later on Thames FM when it was awarded a full-time licence in 1997; the station was run by former Thames TV Producer Dave Mason and the Chairman of this station was David Jacobs.
Nigel once told the story of how David Jacobs came into the studio whilst Nigel was on-air and questioned why he did his shows standing up! This radio station is now called Radio Jackie. Guinness Book of World Records As part of Wish Upon a Star, another short programme for Disney Channel, Nigel Mitchell and Cial Turner travelled on six track rides at Universal Studios Port Aventura, Spain covered a distance of 4,302.03m in 46 minutes and 22 seconds. Still the world record, four years later. Nigel attempted a world record attempt for stacking pancakes at the Disney Channel studio. Producer of Capital Disney radio show Andrew Rendle, nicknamed Radio Rendle or told on radio show that when he first met Nigel, Nigel wore cardigans and tank tops, Nigel based his hair on Jason Donovan. "Any ideas, any ideas? Any, any any ideas?" "Where will it stop? - No one knows, when will it stop? - No-one knows" "Hello My Friend" "You Nutter" Nigel Mitchell on IMDb Nigel Mitchell Fan Club Nigel's agent page
Virgin Media Limited is a British company which provides telephone and internet services in the United Kingdom. Its headquarters are in Hampshire. Since 2013, Virgin Media has been a subsidiary of Liberty Global plc, an international television and telecommunications company; the company was listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market and London Stock Exchange. Virgin Media is not a sister company of Virgin Mobile USA, owned by Sprint Corporation; the company was founded in March 2006 by the merger of Telewest, which created NTL: Telewest. In July 2006, the company purchased Virgin Mobile UK, creating the first "quadruple-play" media company in the United Kingdom, offering television, mobile phone and fixed-line telephone services. In November 2006, the company signed a deal with Sir Richard Branson to licence the Virgin brand for the combined business. All of the company's consumer services were rebranded under the Virgin Media name in February 2007. Virgin Media owns and operates its own fibre-optic cable network in the United Kingdom, although their optical fibre network does not reach the customer premises, rather they connect to a street cabinet.
As of 31 December 2012, it had a total of 4.8 million cable customers, of whom around 3.79 million were supplied with its television services, around 4.2 million with broadband internet services and around 4.1 million with fixed-line telephony services. At the same date, it had around 3 million mobile telephony customers. Virgin Media competes in broadband with Sky, BT Group and TalkTalk, in mobile with EE, O2, Vodafone and Three; the company's origins lie in both Telewest and NTL, which merged in March 2006. Telewest began in 1984 in Croydon under the name "Croydon Cable", was acquired by United Cable of Denver in 1988; the company expanded during the 1990s and adopted the Telewest name in 1992 following the merger of its then-parent TCI and US West. It expanded into cable television access in 1999 by purchasing the remaining 50% stake in Cable London, one of the first cable TV companies in the UK, from NTL, adding 400,000 homes in north London. In April 2000 Telewest merged with Flextech, in November extended its cable network with the acquisition of Eurobell, taking the total number of homes past 4.9 million.
NTL was established by Barclay Knapp and George Blumenthal in 1993 as "International CableTel", taking advantage of the deregulation of the UK cable market. Cabletel acquired local cable franchises covering Guildford, Northern Ireland and parts of Central Scotland and South Wales. In 1996 CableTel acquired National Transcommunications Limited, the privatised UK Independent Broadcasting Authority transmission network. In 1998 CableTel adopted "NTL" as its new name. NTL purchased the ISP Virgin.net in 2004, having operated it as a joint venture with Virgin Group since it launched in November 1996. It sold ADSL broadband services through BT landlines to those living outside areas served by NTL's cable network and offered subscription-based and subscription-free dial-up Internet access. Prior to acquiring Virgin.net, NTL offered. Telewest and NTL began discussions regarding a merger in late 2003. Thanks to their geographically distinct areas, NTL and Telewest had co-operated as in redirecting potential customers living outside their respective areas.
On 3 October 2005, NTL announced a US$16 billion purchase of Telewest, to form one of the largest media companies in the UK. The merger agreement as structured would have required NTL to negotiate with BBC Worldwide due to a change-of-ownership clause written into the agreement for UKTV, a joint venture with Telewest's Flextech content division. To prevent this, Telewest instead acquired NTL. In December 2005 NTL:Telewest and mobile virtual network operator Virgin Mobile UK announced that talks had taken place regarding a merger. Virgin Mobile's independent directors rejected the original bid of £817 million, taking the view that NTL's bid "undervalued the business". Sir Richard Branson expressed confidence that a restructured deal could go ahead, in January 2006 NTL increased its offer to £961 million. On 4 April 2006, NTL announced a £962.4 million recommended offer for Virgin Mobile. According to reports, Branson accepted a mix of shares and cash, making him a 10.7% shareholder of the combined company.
NTL and Telewest formally completed their merger on 3 March 2006, making the merged company the UK's largest cable provider, with more than 90% of the market. The combined company renamed itself NTL Incorporated, with ex-NTL shareholders controlling 75% of the stock and ex-Telewest shareholders 25%. Nine of the 11 directors of the new board came with two from Telewest. NTL:Telewest's takeover of Virgin Mobile completed on 4 July 2006, creating the UK's first'quadruple play' media company, bringing together television, mobile phone and fixed-line phone services; the deal included a 30-year exclusive branding agreement that saw NTL adopt the "Virgin" name after it completed its merger with Telewest. NTL:Telewest announced on 8 November 2006 it would change its name to "Virgin Media Inc". On 9 November 2006, NTL announced it had approached the commercial television broadcaster ITV plc about a proposed merger, after a similar announcement by ITV. BSkyB blocked the merger on 17 November 2006 by controversially buying a 17.9% stake in ITV plc, a move that attracted anger from NTL shareholder Richard Branson, an investigation from media and telecoms regulator Ofcom.
On 6 December 2006 NTL announced that it had complained to the Office of Fair Trading about BSkyB's