DirecTV to launch internet as Fibertel’s licence is revoked

23 Aug 2010

Argentine satellite operator DirecTV intends to invest USD46 million in 2011 in the improvement of its TV services, and is also planning to provide internet services, Dow Jones Newswires reports. DirecTV plans to offer broadband access through DirecTV Net, with services initially limited to the province of Mendoza. The company will also start producing television decoders in the southern province of Tierra del Fuego. DirectTV’s announcement follows the cancellation of the ISP licence held by Fibertel, owned by local multimedia conglomerate Grupo Clarin, which also holds a stake in DirecTV. Fibertel has been locked in an ongoing battle with the government, and last Thursday planning minister Julio de Vido gave the company 90 days to wind up operations, declaring its ISP licence invalid.

CommsUpdate reported earlier this month that the government barred Grupo Clarin’s majority owned subsidiary Cablevision from providing internet access using licences belonging to Fibertel, which merged with Cablevision in 2002. The ruling said that Fibertel’s status as a legal entity – and the concessions it held – expired when it consolidated with Cablevision. The government’s decision comes in the wake of Cablevision’s merger with Multichannel, announced in 2006 and completed in 2007, which also brought together Fibertel’s operations, Teledigital – a cable operator, and Prima – an internet access company. Despite being approved at the time by the Ministry of Domestic Trade and National Defence Commission of Competition (CNDC), the government has since ruled against the integration of the various operators.

DirectTV Latin America is owned by Hughes Electronics Corporation, Darlene Investments (an affiliate of the Cisneros Group) and Grupo Clarin.

Argentina, Cablevision (FiberTel)