Business

World Cup finals cause run on Ready TV set-top boxes

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, July 22, 2018

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The recent FIFA World Cup finals in Russia gave such a huge boost to demand for ReadyTV's services that the company is now down to its last few set-top boxes (STBs).

The major problem now is that it will take at least another couple of months to get new STBs shipped to the island to meet the increasing demand for the service.

However Chris Dehring, head of Ready Communications — the company which is introducing the new credit-driven access to cable and internet — says that while it will stall their massive installation thrust, they will continue taking pre-orders so that, as soon as the new boxes are available, they will be ready to get cracking, again.

“The key issue for us right now is that we underestimated demand for the STBs during the FIFA World Cup, where so many patrons were able to watch the matches on TVJ and TVJ Sports Network in high definition for the first time,” Dehring explained.

“We are virtually down to our last few boxes, and orders are still coming in from our distributors,” he added.

According to him, new orders have been sent to the manufacturers but they will take a couple months to get here.

But, despite the slowdown, Dehring is confident that as soon as the boxes are readily available the installation process will start revving up again.

“In the meantime, we will be setting up a process to take the pre-orders to ensure that when we turn on the new broadcast towers that are to cover the rest of the island, we will be able to meet the demand,” Dehring stated.

“We have confidence in the public's attraction to our easy service, where patrons can simply buy a box at a convenient retail store, self-install at home, and then buy their channel packages using their phones in the pace of things,” Dehring insisted.

“When we tell people it's prepaid like their mobile phones, that they get 10 free HD TV channels, and that even one hundred dollars can buy a package of channels, there is an initial sense of disbelief,” he noted.

Since its launch in May 2017, ReadyTV has been creating quite a buzz in the underserved communities which it has targeted with digital TV services, which gives customers full control over viewing by selling them the credit they need for the amount of time they want to watch their favourite channels.

In April, it was announced that the company's capital outlay got a tremendous up-kick from Michael Lee Chin's AIC Jamaica's announcement that it was taking a significant equity stake in the company.

AIC was encouraged by the progress of Ready Communications' efforts, and the undisclosed AIC investment was said to have made it the single, largest shareholder.

ReadyTV's broadcast signals, which are available via an antenna and the set top box, are already available in Kingston, St Catherine, parts of Clarendon, St Ann and St Mary. The company is currently involved with phase 2 of its network expansion, which should spread the service to Manchester, St Elizabeth, Trelawny, St James and Westmoreland.

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