Cable Communications: Virgin Media 12 Year Monopoly

P. John made this Freedom of Information request to Competition Commission

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Since 1996, the cable internet communication infrastructure in the UK has been operated as a monopoly.

Please could you disclose to me;

1) What assessment have the Competition Commission made of the 12 year monopoly presently enjoyed by Virgin Media?

2) How often is this monopoly reviewed, and against what criteria is it assessed?

3) What would be required to initiate a review of Virgin's cable monopoly?

I would like to be able to obtain internet services from my ISP over the cable infrastructure. The ISP would like to provide that service to me. We are prevented by Virgin's monopoly.

Removing the monopoly would allow people like me to choose from a broad range of competitive service offerings over cable (as I can with ADSL for example).

Yours faithfully,

P. John

See also;
Telewest to offer modem service through Internet
Wednesday, 22 May 1996

Tara Wheeler,

Dear Mr P.John,

Thank you for your letter of 28th November. I would like to apologise
for the delay in sending you this reply and because we are not to be
able to provide a direct response to the matter outlined in your letter.

The Competition Commission (CC) can only address matters referred to it
under statute by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), the Secretary of
State for Trade and Industrial or Sectoral Regulators and has no power
to conduct inquiries on its own initiative.

The CC has not been referred an investigation into Virgin /Internet
Services in the last 12 years and as such, no assessment has been made
by the CC of this market.

Were we to receive such an investigation concerning it would have to be
referred to us by Ofcom, the regulator for communications. It is
therefore Ofcom who are better placed to deal with your request. I have
provided some contact details below, which I help you find useful.

Do let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

Many thanks,

Ofcom Advisory Team
If you have a complaint about a Telecommunications, Broadcast or general
issue please call 020 7981 3040, 0300 123 3333 or if you want to
complain in Welsh, 020 7981 3042. Alternatively, visit the complaints
area of our website. If you want to ask for advice about a
Telecommunications, Broadcast or general query please call us on 020
7981 3040 or 0300 123 3333 or use the Advice for consumers area of the


Riverside House
2a Southwark Bridge Road

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Chief Executive
Competition Commission
Victoria House, Southampton Row
London WC1B 4AD

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Commissioner's Office by post to the following address:

FOI Compliance Team (complaints)
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Tel: 0845 630 60 60

Tara Wheeler
0207 271 0209

Competition Commission
Victoria House
Southampton Row
London WC1B 4AD

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Dear Ms Wheeler,

many thanks for your note, and helpful information.

I will contact Ofcom as recommended.

Yours sincerely,

P. John