We’re living in the days where hundreds of television channels are available at the flick of a button, delivering a veritable plethora of visual and audible delights.

On November, 1936, The BBC opened the world’s first regular high definition television service from Alexandra Palace.

In 1955 came ITV, BBC II in 1967 and Channel 4 in 1982 – it wasn’t until the advent of cable television when Southampton viewers would be treated to channels in double figures.

In the mid-80s, much debate was had over who would be awarded the contract to install the cables in Southampton, Eastleigh and Chandler’s Ford.

The contract was finally awarded to the local consortium Southampton Cable, which included representatives of Pirelli, a large merchant bank and Southern Newspapers.

Although the digging of pavements began in 1987, the mammoth 280-mile cable laying operation didn’t get under way until 1989. The work was carried out by many contractors, including McNicholas Construction Company, each with the aim of reaching completion within three years.

Cable TV was switched on for many homes in March 1990, then operated by Canadian company Videotron South, and backed by local industry which held a stake in the development.

A receiving tower in West Quay Road received the television signals by satellite before a control room distributed them via fibre optics to large green control cabinets in the streets. From there the signals travelled directly through the underground cables into subscribers’ homes.

The original setup had more than 24 channels, with the capacity of allowing up to 70, although upgrades to the exchanges and network have seen it increase dramatically over the years.

In February 1999 Videotron changed to Cable and Wireless before becoming NTL in June 2000.

Owned by Virgin Media since 2006, the fibre optic cables supply television, internet and telephone services to thousands of local homes and businesses.