Business

Digicel to buy Telstar Cable

Friday, July 18, 2014    

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Digicel has inked a deal to buy Telstar Cable Limited's cable and fibre network in Jamaica.

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

Telstar's Flo Darby said the that the 20-year-old subscriber television service provider had long wanted to expand but lacked the capital.

"Over time we added a few zones but we needed to expand further however we did not have the capital resources to undertake the expansion and so we had wanted a good corporate company to invest in what we wanted to achieve; an entity that would allow us to soar and to provide services to our customers in areas that we have not be able to," she said.

The company currently operates in Kingston and St Andrew, as well as, parts of St Catherine, including Portmore and Caymanas.

Digicel's expansion will be significant, according to the telecoms, which will face strong competition from Columbus Communications, which trades as Flow in Jamaica.

At the end of 2013, Flow's network already passed 310,000 homes, according to the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR). There are an estimated 850,000 dwellings islandwide.

It also accounted for 48 per cent of fixed line broadband subscriptions compared to LIME's 52 per cent.

The purchase of Telstar will be Digicel's fourth Caribbean cable acquisition since last November.

The three companies it bought before provide cable TV and Internet services across five markets -- Anguilla, Dominica, Montserrat, Nevis, and Turks and Caicos Islands.

Flow's parent, Columbus International, also has a leg up in the region.

It boasts over 650,000 residential and corporate customers across eight countries -- Antigua, Barbados, Curacao, Grenada, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines and Trinidad.

Columbus operates on a ringed submarine fiber-optic network spanning more than 42,300 kilometre and its 38,000 km terrestrial fibre and coaxial network.

In December 2013, Digicel entered into a share and asset purchase agreement with Global Caribbean Fibre to acquire certain submarine fibre assets in the Eastern Caribbean region. The deal will provide Digicel with a wholly-owned submarine fibre optic cable network of approximately 2,100 km providing capacity from Trinidad to Guadeloupe.

"Digicel has also been investing heavily in greenfield fibre build-outs having broken ground on next-generation fibre networks in Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad," said the company in a press statement issued yesterday. "This investment in fibre reflects the company's ongoing focus on business solutions which has shown almost 40 per cent year on year growth in revenues.

"These fibre builds are nearing completion and pre-selling of the services has already commenced."

Digicel Group CEO, Colm Delves, said: "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 of advanced solutions for their businesses."

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