Digicel plans to build out an island-wide digital cable and home broadband network within three years, says Digicel’s CEO Barry O’Brien.
The acquisition of Telstar and the island-wide expansion of its cable footprint is a strategic move to position the telecommunications firm to enter the subscriber TV market; push its broadband Internet business; and eventually offer fixed-line services, said the chief executive officer of Digicel Jamaica.
Mobile telecommunications is already at high levels of saturation. Jamaica has a mobile phone penetration rate of over 110%.
O’Brien declined to provide an estimate for the planned investment, but said it would run in the billions of dollars.
Indeed, Telstar, a licensed subscription television (STV) company which also provides broadband and VoIP services, currently services sections of St Andrew and St Catherine. Operations will have to expand to a further 12 parishes across the country.
Digicel will commence replacement of some of Telstar’s existing cable networks with new digital ones almost immediately. The company already has the go-ahead from the Broadcasting Commission to complete the acquisition of the subscriber TV provider.
The cable and broadband infrastructure also forms a critical part of the Digicel’s plans to aggressively target fixed-line customers once the government approves local number portability (LNM), according to O’Brien.