My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Digicel Play launches FTTH Network - How FLOW Jamaica and Liberty Global Empire Will Strike Back

Monday, November 23, 2015

Digicel Play launches FTTH Network - How FLOW Jamaica and Liberty Global Empire Will Strike Back

“The network itself is the same type of network deployed in the most advanced countries 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”

Head of Group Public Relations for Digicel, Antonia Graham, in an email to the Jamaica Observer

Digicel is truly stepped up their game against rival FLOW Jamaica.

They've recently launched Digicel Play, their Fiber optic Cable service as announced officially in the article “Digicel invests US $100-million in fibre technology, new services”, published Sunday, November 22, 2015 by Josimar Scott, The Jamaica Observer.

Actually, if you're on Twitter a lot and you visit the Digicel Stores as often as I do, they'd officially launched since October 15th 2015, when Telstar Cable @TelstarCableLtd had endorsed the name Digicel Play in a very simple tweet linked to a Facebook posting:

Coincidentally, this is around the same time rumours began flying about related to the impending purchase of CWC (Cable and Wireless Communication) by Cable Giant Liberty Global as detailed in my blog article entitled “US$5.5 billion Liberty Global purchase of CWC's FLOW Jamaica - Why Digicel Play will truly Liberate Cable Subscribers”.

A quick search using the term “Digicel Play” will eventually yield enough information to show that Jamaica are very curious about the Digicel Play service, which has been launching in a very low-key manner thus far to quote Stephen Charoo @esteban876:

So what exactly is Digicel Play? And what does Liberty Global, the new owner of CWC and hence FLOW Jamaica, have planned to compete against this growing threat?

Digicel Play launches FTTH Network based on Telstar Cable - How FLOW Jamaica and Liberty Global Empire Will Strike Back

Digicel Play is a FTTH (Fiber-to-the-home) Cable Network that deliver Triple Play services i.e. Cable TV, Fixed line Telephony based on VoIP and Broadband Internet. The Ad on Digicel's YouTube channel should bring you up to speed!!!

Begin as it Fiber Optic straight to your house and not copper based Coaxial Cable used by FLOW Jamaica, expect some blazing fast theoretical speeds as follows:

1.      500 MBps upload
2.      1 GBps downloads

The logo does look similar to Google Play, but the difference is significant enough not to warrant any further discussion. What worth talking about is their variously cable packages as listed on their Digicel Play Webpage, which is a sub domain of Digicel Group's website.

This implies that Digicel Play is a regional Service and not specific to just the Caribbean, as I’ve seen Digicel Play service for the PNG (Papau New Guinea) and Turks and Caicos which was launched long before Jamaica.

No matter which territory, their Cable packages come with the following:

1.      3 months FREE Cloud Storage
2.      Mosaic
3.      On Demand
4.      One Set Top Box (STB) & Remote
5.      Pause & Rewind Live TV (Time Shift)
6.      Personal Video Recorder
7.      Picture in Picture

There are three (3) distinct cable packages that differ in terms of Channels:

1.         JA$3,399.00 Play Now, which has 177 channels, 41 of which are HD
2.         JA$3,399.00 Play More, which has 192 channels, 47 of which are HD
3.         JA$6,699.00 Play Large, which has 223 channels, 70 of which are HD

The three (3) Broadband internet packages have me blown away personally:

1.      JA$4,099.00 Play 25 that offers 25MBps Download and 5MBps Upload
2.      JA$8,699.00 Play 50 that offers 50MBps Download and 10MBps Upload
3.      JA$10,899.00 Play 100 that offers 100MBps Download and 50MBps Upload

These I suspect are of more interest to many Jamaicans as with a proper VPN (Virtual Private Network) you can stream the content that you want.

Especially now that the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica has demanded that the Cable providers remove some 19 channels they have been broadcasting illegally as explained in my blog article entitled “Cable Providers comply with BCJ Cable Channel Removal - How to install a VPN to Stream American Cable Channels on your Roku”.

So how does FLOW Jamaica Compare? And do they plan to eventually launch FTTH along with 4G LTE by 2016?

FLOW Jamaica Broadband and Cable Packages – Why Liberty Global will have to step up FLOW’s Game

This compares very well with FLOW Jamaica's Broadband Internet packages as listed on their website.

1.      JA$3,099 FLOW Essential for 15Mbps Download and 1Mbps Upload
2.      JA$4,199 FLOW Plus for 20Mbps Download and 1.5Mbps Upload
3.      JA$$9,899 FLOW Max for 50Mbps Download and 2Mbps Upload
4.      JA$12,099 FLOW Turbo for 100Mbps Download and 5Mbps Upload

If this seems a tad high, FLOW Jamaica has some interesting Triple Play Bundles that are really just the FLOW Essential repackaged with Cable channels. FLOW Jamaica's speeds also seem to vary based on your location and appear to be provided by the slower ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line) which is based on their POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) Network.

FLOW Jamaica will definitely have to step up their game, as DOCSIS 3.0, the protocol that powers their digital Cable Network that they inherited from FLOW cannot match the upgrade capability of a FTTH Network like Digicel Play.

especially as 5G Broadband Internet is slated to be launched by 2020 based on the ITU (International Telecommunication Union), the Telecommunications arm of the UN (United Nations) 5G Mission Plan for IMT-2020 as reported in my blog article entitled “ITU publishes 5G IMT-2020 Roadmap - Why US Telecom Providers, @Digicel_Jamaica and @LIMEJamaica like to travel off the beaten Path”. 

Now that you have a fairly good idea of the packages and prices, will FLOW Jamaica also go FTTH not that they’ve officially been purchased by Liberty Global for US$8.2 billion as announced Monday November 16th 2015 in my blog article entitled “US$8.2 billion Liberty Global deal for CWC – How Digicel Play competition means benefits for Jamaica and the Caribbean”? 

Check back with my blog or just follow Digicel Jamaica’s website Digicel Jamaica YouTube Page, Digicel’s Facebook Page and Digicel’s Twitter Page As usual, for the latest news on Telecom Provider FLOW Jamaica, follow the action for FLOW Jamaica on their FLOW Jamaica website, FLOW Jamaica YouTube Page, FLOW Jamaica Twitter Page and FLOW Jamaica Facebook Page.

Here's the link:

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