My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Digicel officially acquires Telstar Cable – Why Digicel is launching IPTV Streaming over 4G LTE using 20 Years of Cable TV History

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Digicel officially acquires Telstar Cable – Why Digicel is launching IPTV Streaming over 4G LTE using 20 Years of Cable TV History

“It's going to be a complete modular network. We are going to digitise it as well and there will be a lot of content added on top of what Telstar has presently”

Digicel CEO Barry O'Brien at Press briefing held at Telstar's headquarters in Kingston on Thursday September 11th 2014

It’s now official.

Telecom Provider Digicel now owns Telstar Cable with a symbolic transition of ownership that took place at a Press briefing held at Telstar's headquarters in Kingston on Thursday September 11th 2014 as stated in Digicel moves one step closer to Cable TV, published Wednesday, September 10, 2014 5:00 PM, The Jamaica Observer.

This acquisition makes it their fourth in the Caribbean, as their ambitions are clearly to have a Caribbean-wide Cable TV services as explained in my Geezam blog article entitled “Digicel Turks and Caicos thinks Streaming over 4G LTE by buying Cable TV Internet Provider”, also done for the purposes of acquiring Fiber Optic Backhaul to interconnect their 4G LTE Cell Sites in those Caribbean territories as mentioned in the article.

This is clearly aimed at Telecom Provider Digicel expanding their Fiber Optic Network islandwide so as to provide Backhaul for their 4G LTE Network as explained in my blog article entitled “Digicel acquires Telstar Cable – 4G LTE with a dash of Streaming Cable TV Service”.

This much Digicel Group CEO, Colm Delves, who was present at the handover, said of the deal, quote: “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”

Digicel acquires Telstar Cable – 20 Years of Cable TV History bought by the Bigger, Better Network

With this purchase, Telecom Provider Digicel has added 50 more employees to their family from a company that has had a good 20 year run in Jamaica. Not quite sure what will become of  Managing Director of Telstar, Florence Darby and her husband, as Telecom Provider Digicel has already put in place an Interim Manager to manage the transition of the company.

David Darby, who was killed mobster style back in 1996 while installing Cables, would be quite pleased with what his sister and Managing Director of Telstar, Florence Darby has managed to do with the company. Still a few things aren’t clear as yet!

For instance, it’s not clear whether there will be a rebranding of the newly acquired entity, as this was not forthcoming at the Press Conference. However, one is possibly in the offing, to quote CEO of Digicel Barry O'Brien: “The immediate plan for the foreseeable future is to continue operating under the Telstar name, but we are looking at rebranding at a future time. If we are rebranding, it would mostly likely be under a brand-new name. So, we might do what we did back in 2000, which is run some competition to come up with the likely name which we will operate under”.

The fact one wasn't mentioned suggests that they're really purchasing the company just to get at its Fiber Optic Infrastructure and Cable License with plans to expand their service islandwide, to quote CEO of Digicel Barry O'Brien: “While Telstar only operated here in Kingston and St Andrew, we plan to have a massive roll-out in terms of nationwide service both in the existing infrastructure and in other areas”.

This may be the reason why Managing Director of Telstar, Florence Darby and her husband agreed to the sale, quote: “Originally, we were only allowed to be in St Andrew, so we had 10 zones. However, when one provider was given an islandwide license, we got variations to our licence. We acquired some licences for Portmore and we also expanded to Mona, Duhaney Park and along Washington Boulevard”.

Currently Telstar Cable operates in the following zones:

1.      Beverley Hills
2.      Cross Roads
3.      Duhaney Park
4.      Hope Pastures
5.      Meadowbrook Estate
6.      Mona
7.      New Haven
8.      Patrick City
9.      Riverton City
10.  Swallowfield
11.  Vineyard Town
12.  Washington Gardens
13.  Portmore

Digicel’s 4G LTE – IPTV Streaming over 4G LTE may be possible as Broadcasting goes Digital

So will this mean IPTV Streaming Cable TV on any device?

If so, a sure sign that Telecom Provider Digicel plans to do this will be the upgrade of existing Data Plan to accommodate high volume Traffic typical of Streaming Television Content. They might also put out a rebranded Digicel/Telstar or otherwise rebranded App for smartphones and Tablets.

They may even form a partnership to resell Roku Set top boxes and the US$49 Roku Streaming Stick with HDMI Compatibility, being as the Roku is the most popular ahead of the Apple iTV Streaming Set top box as explained in my blog article entitledUS$49 Roku Streaming Stick with HDMI Compatability launched before Ash Wednesday - Roku facing a Transformers Age of Extinction as Console Games becomes Content of Choice for Streaming”.

Whatever their plans, I'm sure many Jamaicans are either excited as to what this might mean for Cable TV or upset that another local company has been acquired by a FDI (Foreign Direct Investor), albeit this one is much beloved.

Telecom Provider Digicel may also be using their Cable License to launch a IPTV Streaming TV service using Telstar‘s portfolio of Cable Channels, making them competitive against the RJR Communications Group, who have a similar service, TVJ Everywhere that they'll be launching by October 2014 as stated in my blog article entitled “RJR Communications Group Launching TVJ Everywhere - How Streaming TVJ Everywhere will boost Advertising Revenue as Digicel and LIME TV coming”.

It also allows them to be competitive against Telecom Provider LIME and their LIME TV, which is also set to go IPTV Streaming, serving up Cable channels accessible on any Internet connected device as described in my blog article entitledLIME experiences 25% increase in Profits due to MTR - 4G LTE and FTTH like Bahamas with IPTV Streaming LIME TV will give LIME 3 Days to Kill”.

It finally also makes them competitive against Triple Play Provider FLOW, who also provide a slew of similar VoIP, Broadband Internet and Telephony services and who are ever so quietly pushing into Hosted PBX Services with a sprinkling of Cloud Computing and Storage as explained in my blog article entitledFLOW rolls out Hosted PBX - How 100 MBs FLOW Ultra can power a Private WiMaX Community Network”.

With all this competition in Cable TV, customers can only benefit from innovative services and competitive pricing models!

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