Digicel Play targets 150,000 homes

Digicel Play targets 150,000 homes

BY KARENA BENNETT Business reporter bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, December 03, 2015

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Group CEO Digicel Cable and Broadband John Suranyi says there is a "mad rush on"' for customers signing up for its latest high definition home entertainment -- Digicel Play. The company is already close to passing fibre by some 150,000 homes in Kingston and Portmore.

The new package, which includes fibre, fixed lines and internet services, forms part of a US$100 million investment that the telecoms company has been deploying since September to bring Jamaica on par with countries such as Korea, Europe and the United States.

"Its the only fibre in Jamaica that is fibre to the house," Suranyi said, offering faster service as a result. "There is no old-fashioned cable."

"The product has been getting great reviews so far -- the only problem is that we can't get Digicel Play in the areas as fast as people want. There is a mad-rush going on because word is getting out about how fast the service is," Suranyi stated during a viewing of the entertainment package at Digicel headquarters in downtown Kingston yesterday.

Even before the official launch, more than 150,000 customers have already started to access the service in Kingston and Portmore, and over the next few weeks the company will be expanding into Spanish Town.

Meanwhile, the company is also rolling out in Trinidad and Barbados, with plans for other islands to follow soon.

The move has created roughly 1,000 jobs for locals, 600 of which are expected to last for at least 18 months with the possiblity of also working for roll-outs in other Caribbean markets and the Central Americas.

"We start at 25 megabytes per second while uploading five megabytes per second, so persons watching Netflix and YouTube will not be encountering any buffering. It takes less than a minute to download a two-hour movie, you can fast-forward and rewind live TV and record up to 200 hours of content," Digicel Play CEO Gary Shaw stated.

Digicel Play boasts a fibre speed of up to 200 megabytes per second and has dedicated fibre technology for each home. The company's triple play bundle starts at $3,799 per month and consists of 118 channels with including HD channels for no extra cost, high speed internet and a free home phone.

The strategy is to keep prices affordable and in line or less than the prices of competitors, Suranyi said. "We're not entering a price war," he said, adding, "the rate is not going to change, there is no hidden agenda." Prices will be fixed for the length of the 12 month agreement.,

What's more, Digicel says it will be expanding its product offering to include cable channels that are not yet licensed in the Caribbean, while plans are underway for the launch of an 'Out of Home application', for use on android devices.

"We have a number of exclusive content coming for our networks, and we will be adding a lot of features as we go on including the feature of recording a programme while you're not at home," Suranyi said.

Digicel Group is a total communications and entertainment provider with operations in 33 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and Asia Pacific. After more than 14 years of operation, total investment to date stands at over US$5 billion worldwide.

Meanwhile, Suranyi said Digicel is not extremely worried about theft of its fibre optic cables, since the technology is not made of copper, but of glass. He added that there would no financial gain from the sale of its cables since it predominantly consist of glass.

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