Digicel invests US $100-million in fibre technology, new services


Saturday, November 21, 2015

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Since September Digicel has been rolling out Digicel Cable and Digicel Play -- the latter being a package including cable TV, fixed line and Internet services — as part of a US$100-million investment in "next-generation" fibre network.

"The network itself is the same type of network deployed in the most advanced contries in the world, which will bring Jamaica on par with the likes of Korea and the fibre networks in the US and Europe. This is good for the economy and will also help attract much-needed inward direct investment in Jamaica," Antonia Graham, head of group public relations — Digicel, told the Jamaica Observer in an email.

"Digicel Play is a new frontier in home entertainment. As Jamaica's only true fibre-to-home network, Digicel Play turns your home into the ultimate entertainment zone," Graham told the Business Observer.

The fibre-to-home network is a direct line to customers' homes and business locations providing cable TV, fixed-line voice and high-speed Internet, Graham said. Because it uses light fibre technology, the network is "more resilient, more secure ... and more efficient than other cable solutions - unaffected by the elements (rain or electrical storms), terrain, location or distance".

With the network, customers can also expect to have more reliable and consistent speeds, with uploads capable of up to 500 MB per second and downloads of up to 1GB per second.

The roll-out of Digicel Cable service began with transitioning Telstar Cable Limited customers acquired last year, and will continue over the next few months in the Corporate Area, as well as Portmore and Spanish Town. The company aims to continue the roll-out of Digicel Cable and Digicel Play across Jamaica over the next two years, as "we already have ... the business backbone in parts of Kingston and MoBay, and the two are linked," Graham said.

In July last year Digicel announced its purchase of Telstar Cable Limited, its fourth cable company acquisition in the Caribbean at the time, subject to the approval of the Broadcasting Commission. Though no definite date of the approval was given, in September the telecommunications company announced that it had completed the purchase of Telstar, and in the process procured a licence to offer cable TV services.

Upon approval from the Broadcasting Commission, the telecommunications giant began to expand network coverage for cable TV, broadband and telephony services and increase its offering of products, services and content available to cable customers in Jamaica.

"We are investing heavily in cable TV, content and fibre across our markets to ensure that Digicel is positioned at the forefront of a data-intensive world where our customers are able to enjoy multimedia experiences on multiple devices and avail themselves of advanced solutions for their businesses," Digicel Group CEO, Colm Delves, had said at the announcement of the Telstar deal.

"We look forward to expanding our footprint further in this space in the coming year through a combination of acquisitions and greenfield builds (next-generation fibre networks in Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad)," he added.

In order to drive the delivery of multimedia content -- as well as improve offerings for mobile data services and business solutions -- Digicel says it has also secured significant off-island sub-sea fibre bandwidth. The cable and broadband infrastructure also forms a critical part of Digicel's plans to aggressively target fixed-line customers since the Government has approved local number portability.

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