Smallworld Cable

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Smallworld Cable Ltd
Subsidiary of Virgin Media
Industry Telecommunications
Founded 2001 (as Omne Communications)
Defunct 2014
Headquarters Morecambe, United Kingdom
(Registered office)
Irvine, United Kingdom
(Head office)
Key people
Graham Clare – general manager
Products Cable television
broadband
telephone
Owner Liberty Global
Parent Virgin Media
Website www.smallworldcable.com (links to Virgin Media website)

Smallworld Fibre (previously Smallworld Cable, Wightcable North and OMNE) was a British telecommunications company based in Irvine, North Ayrshire. The coverage area was Irvine, Dreghorn, Troon and Kilmarnock in the west of Scotland, and Carlisle, Lancaster and Morecambe in the north-west of England, serving over 40,000 homes.

Smallworld provided broadband, telephone and digital television services to residential customers.

History[edit]

The company was founded in the summer of 2001 as Omne Communications by former employees of BT and NTL. Their television service launched in December after being granted a local delivery service licence by the ITC.[1]

In May 2002, Omne Communications entered administration. On 1 February 2003, it was announced CLS Holdings, owners of WightCable, had acquired a 76% stake in the company for £4.1 million, saving it from closure.[2] The company was rebranded later that year from Omne to WightCable North.

In January 2006, WightCable North was sold by CLS Holdings, at a loss of £2.1 million, to Netfonics.[3][4] In March 2007, WightCable North was rebranded as Smallworld Media.[5]

In December 2009, Smallworld Media rebranded itself as Smallworld Cable and introduced a new logo. On 18 December 2009, Smallworld announced that they had completed core network upgrades and planned to roll out faster 50Mbit/s DOCSIS 3.0 broadband across its cable network. The company also confirmed they had connected the town of Dreghorn to their network, increasing their customer base by around 1,200 homes.[6]

In early 2013, Smallworld Cable changed its name to Smallworld Fibre.

On 3 February 2014, Smallworld Fibre was acquired by Virgin Media for an undisclosed fee.[7] The deal saw Smallworld's network merged into Virgin Media's during 2014.

In December 2014, Virgin Media axed the Smallworld Fibre brand and switched all viewers to the Virgin Media network.

Products and services[edit]

As a "triple play" cable provider with its own network, Smallworld Fibre provided cable TV, broadband and fixed line telephone services.

Broadband[edit]

Smallworld Speedometer on their website

Smallworld provided three tiers of service (as of Dec 2013) of 25Mbit/s, 50Mbit/s and 100MBit/s download speeds. These speeds were only available to customers within their cable network footprint and ADSL broadband services were available for customers who wanted service outside their cable network. Wireless home network kits were available to customers for an additional fee. Standard installation tended to be free of charge when broadband was taken as part of a bundle with other products. Smallworld advertised their broadband as a fibre-optic network, but they utilise a hybrid fibre-coaxial network to distribute service to customers, similar to the topology of Virgin Media.

Smallworld ran a "speedometer" on its website that gave a "live" view of the average network speed on the cable network they provide but not the internet speed. As of 21 December 2009 this speed stood at 24.4Mbit/s (out of 25Mbit/s). The speed test was removed by March 2010, though they gave a server for speed testing on speedtest.net.

The upload speeds were 200kbit/s for the 2Mbit/s download service, 350kbit/s for 10Mbit/s, 512kbit/s for 25Mbit/s, and 1.5Mbit/s for 50Mbit/s.

The most recent[when?] modem provided by Smallworld for its DOCSIS cable broadband service was the Motorola 5101 EuroDOCSIS model.

Cable TV[edit]

Smallworld provided a digital TV service over its cable TV network and provides over 120 channels including all local terrestrial services and subscription services, such as Sky Sports and Sky Movies. Multiroom services were available for an additional fee on top of the main TV subscription.

Smallworld used set-top boxes manufactured by Kaon Media for its standard definition TV service.[8] In 2011 Smallworld began to offer a PVR service, with a Topfield manufactured set top box which has HD capabilities. There was also a higher capacity 1TB model available.

Telephone[edit]

Fixed line phone services was available within the Smallworld Fibre network with features such as caller ID, call forwarding and voicemail available. Smallworld offers free local calls to its cable phone customers and its local area covers Scotland, Northern Ireland and "a large section of Northern England". Also as of April[year needed] Smallworld Fibre offered free weekend calls to 01, 02, 03 and 0870 numbers free with phone rental.

Sponsorship[edit]

Fibre optic advertisement from the Smallworld website, explaining the speed drop in ADSL broadband compared to their connection type.

Smallworld Cable was the main strip sponsor of Kilmarnock F.C..[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Satchell, Luke (4 December 2001). "OMNE Communications set to launch local TV networks". Broadcast. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Smith, Mark (1 February 2003). "Buy-out deal secures future of Omne Communications". The Herald. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "CLS Holdings Plc Preliminary Financial Results 2006" (PDF). CLS Holdings. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "Wight Cable North – Operator Profile". Point Topic. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Ferguson, Andrew (15 March 2007). "Wight Cable North re-branding to Smallworld". ThinkBroadband. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Brown, Lex (18 December 2009). "Irvine Cable company Smallworld Expands". Irvine Herald. Archived from the original on 1 May 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  7. ^ "Virgin Media acquires Smallworld Fibre". Virgin Media. 3 February 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  8. ^ "Guide to Equipment". Lets Communicate. 2007. 
  9. ^ "Sponsor". Kilmarnock Football Club. 

External links[edit]