Skycable Expands Internet Broadband Coverage

The cable unit of ABS-CBN Corp. has set aside a billion peso capital expenditures (capex) next year to expand its broadband coverage nationwide and to roll out digital boxes to prevent cable theft.

In a briefing, Rodrigo P. Montinola, SkyCable Inc.’s vice-president for marketing told reporters that his company would be spending P1 billion next year, the same as this year.

Montinola said part of the capex will be used to digitalize the SkyCable’s infrastructures to prevent cable signal theft.

“By year-end, hopefully 80 percent of Metro Manila subscribers to be already on digital boxes,” Montinola said.

At present, 70 percent of SkyCable’s subscribers in Metro Manila has digital boxes.

Digibox addresses the problem of cable signal theft through the use of encrypting technology, which would prevent illegal taps into Sky Cable’s network.

Digibox also offers digital quality signal, and includes features such as electronic program guides that allow viewers to find out ahead of time programs for the rest of the week. The technology also provides parental locks for non-child friendly programming and interactive video games.

SkyCable has about 500,000 subscribers nationwide, of which 200,000 are in Metro Manila.

“This year, we expect our cable TV subscribers to grow by 5 percent this year,” Montinola said.

Montinola also said the company projected that its Sky broadband subscribers to reach 40,000 this year from the existing 25,000 subscribers.

The SkyCable executive expects its SkyBroadband 112 mbps service to drive the growth of its broadband subscriber base.

“With our 112 mpbs service, Sky is positioned to deliver the fastest residential broadband speeds in the country,” Montinola said, adding that the service is currently available in Rockwell, Makati.

Montinola, however, said that the high-speed broadband Internet service would be expanded in some areas in Metro Manila in the next two to three months.

Of the total 500,000 cable TV susbcribers, Montinola said the company was eyeing 100,000 subscribers to avail the new broadband service.

Montinola said revenues were likely to grow 15 percent this year, mainly driven by its SkyCable broadband business.

Last year, the SkyCable’s revenue amounted to P3.72 billion, higher than the P2.67 billion in 2008.

“In terms of profits, we expect a double digit growth this year,” Montinola said.

SKy Cable’s net income amounted to P164 million last year from P81 million in 2008. (PNA)

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