PRT launches ClaroTV satellite television service for Puerto Rico (1 Viewer)

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neljtorres

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May 1, 2005
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Bayamon, Puerto Rico
More than two years after announcing its plans to break into the island’s paid television market, on Thursday, Puerto Rico Telephone announced the availability of its ClaroTV service.
Through the launch, PRT begins offering a “triple-play” of services combining telephony, Internet and paid television services.
“With the launch of Claro TV, we affirm our leadership in the telecommunications industry as the only company which offers telephony, mobile communication, Internet and subscription television in all of Puerto Rico,” said Enríque Ortiz de Montellano, president of PRT/Claro.
“We have invested in the most modern and sophisticated technology to provide a significantly higher entertainment experience,” he said.
In preparation for the launch, PRT has invested some $70 million in infrastructure, which represents half of the total amount it will spend, when long-term commitments are added up, Claro TV Director Carlos García, said.
As first reported by the Daily Sun last week, to launch the service, PRT signed a long-term agreement with SES World Skies in New Jersey.
SES will put up its AMC-21 satellite facility to launch the islandwide television service, which will feature more than 130 standard and high definition channels in Spanish and English.
The satellite signal will be channeled through an antenna ClaroTV has installed in Caguas, measuring 30 feet in diameter.
“We’re going to use the portion of the satellite that covers Puerto Rico, so the signal is very strong. That, coupled with the antenna in Caguas, will help us control the signal’s power and so we’ll be better equipped to offer good service even when weather conditions are challenging,” García noted.
Although the company announced the availability of the service on Thursday, ClaroTV has been quietly offering the service since late February, García said.
So far, the company has signed up an estimated 1,000 customers, he noted.
As part of its introductory package of services, ClaroTV is offering a plan that includes 38 channels — in English and Spanish, local and international — for $34.24 a month. Customers will be able to sign up for 40 additional channels which will be free for a limited time.
In coming months, customers will also be able to make up their own packages, choosing from a number of pre-established bundles, García said.
Included in the variety of channels that ClaroTV has in its lineup are: La Telenovela, TBS, E!, Discovery, CNN, Starz, Televisión Española, Food Network, National Geographic, Televisión Dominicana, Aljazeera, and Blackbelt TV.
As part of the monthly service, customers will get the satellite dish, the receiver box and necessary cables, which ClaroTV will rent for a fee. The company will also provide maintenance to the equipment if it were to break down, García said.
The paid television service can be bundled with PRT’s telephony and Internet services, starting at $64.81 a month, including tax.

A competitive market
PRT has been looking to break into the island’s paid television market since February 2008, when it requested a cable franchise license from the Telecommunications Regulatory Board.
The company’s first request was denied, so it re-filed in December 2008. The petition moved from the agency to the courts after the petition was challenged by incumbent television service providers. No decision has been made on the case since October 2009.
As part of the original proposal, ClaroTV services were going to be offered through a hybrid platform combining broadband and satellite signals, García said.
The idea was to launch IPTV first, but that requires a franchise license. Satellite service, on the other hand, is not regulated by the TRB, so the technology was chosen to start offering the service that blankets the island, Vieques and Culebra.
ClaroTV will compete with incumbents Onelink Communications, Liberty Cable, Choice Cable, DirecTV and Dish Network
 
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