Business

LIME cable TV to air next year

By Camilo Thame Business co-ordinator thamec@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, July 15, 2012    

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LIME should launch its subscriber television service in 2013, according to company executives.

But it is doing so to hold on to its broadband customers rather than making an aggressive play in the cable TV market.

"Broadband revenue didn't increase because of churn (subscribers ending their service)," said Garry Sinclair, LIME Jamaica's managing director.

"The idea with the IPTV... is really an attempt to retain our broadband customers," he said. "(It is) aimed primarily at our existing customer as the third part of 'triple play' to provide some stickiness to existing customers, fixed line and broadband customers."

Flow, which is LIME's major competitor in the provision of Internet service, is by far the dominant player in cable TV services.

Moreover, Flow also has plans to further integrate its cable TV and broadband services to keep its customers happy.

It plans to introduce its Flow ToGo, which will enable subscribers to watch their Flow cable service on tablets, PCs and smart phones, "wherever a WiFi Internet connection is available".

LIME's subscriber television service is to be rolled out in areas that have broadband infrastructure -- IPTV needs a minimum of four megabytes per second (MBps).

But Internet penetration in Jamaica, or the proportion of homes and businesses with Internet access is estimated to be about 19 per cent.

"If we get to a position where we attract over 10,000 subscribers, we would have been in keeping with the models and projections that we have set," said Sinclair of LIME TV.

Just as well it wasn't an all out offensive against Flow, given that it claims to already reach about 50 per cent of the population in all the major towns in Jamaica.

"For the rest of the year (2012), the focus will be in Clarendon and St Catherine, with the continued expansion of the fibre optic network in May Pen, Old Harbour and Spanish Town, delivering service to more than 11,000 homes and businesses," Flow told the Jamaica Observer.

The telecommunications provider did see the average revenue per broadband user climb as customers upgraded to higher bandwidths and lower yielding subscribers terminated their service.

"Our challenge with broadband is that ti is extremely competitive and penetration is very low," Sinclair told the Jamaica Observer. "So you find we are in a race to the bottom over the same customers with our major competition."

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