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CWC to introduce TV services when time is right

Cable and Wireless Communications(CWC)is confirming that plans are still on the table to bring pay television programming(premium channels)to a television near you–a sign that the Bahamas Telecommunications Company’s(BTC)$55 million spend on wireless infrastructure won’t be for naught.

While acknowledging it was not a first priority for the company right now, Geoff Houston, head of CWC’s transition team, said the services will indeed be introduced to the country–but only when the timing is right.

“Pay TV is just one of the innovative services which we would like to see offered in The Bahamas,”he said in a statement sent toGuardian Businessyesterday.”It is a product which we already offer in both Monaco and Panama and which we have committed to launching within the Caribbean.

“Mobile TV, a product we offer in Jamaica, is also a way in which TV services could be delivered. We need to better understand the company’s existing plans before committing to a schedule for introducing these services.”

He asserted that the company’s first priorities were”to work with BTC staff to upgrade the island’s mobile service to 4G and to quadruple the speed of broadband services.”

In 2008, BTC started to put in place$55 million of wireless infrastructure that will facilitate the bundling of wireless TV, Internet and telephone services, which was at the time scheduled for launch no later than 2010. With Cable Bahamas’exclusivity agreement now expired, it leaves BTC with both the means and the know-how to compete in that newly-liberalized segment of the market, even as the government prepares to open the segment of telecommunications it now controls.

BTC previously signed a contract with Sonus Networks to buy its fully integrated, IP-based platform in order to replace its network of telephone wires and poles.

The wireless system was said to have the capability to save the company over one million dollars a year in energy costs alone, and about another million dollars a year in maintenance and upgrades designed to bring BTC up to date with its North American counterparts. Many of those companies are also expanding outside of their traditional markets.

They all now offer the triple whammy of phone, high-speed Internet and television services. The move by these firms followed the inking of a U.S. bill that makes it possible for telecommunications companies to offer bundled services over optic fiber-enhanced networks.

As much as$52 million could be pumped into the economy through a Cable and Wireless(LIME)move to expand the nation’s broadband network by 10 percent, officials have stated earlier.

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