Leading executives of Paraguayan pay-TV and broadband ISP Cablevision have reacted swiftly to deny the government’s claim that it is looking to negotiate the sale of the company to state-owned national telecoms operator Copaco. Cablevision, which is owned by Argentina’s largest media conglomerate Grupo Clarin and which offers broadband cable services in Paraguay under the brand name FiberTel, said instead it is merely seeking ‘strategic partners to expand services in Paraguay’ and that its recent meeting with government officials was designed to ‘explore chapters related to the development of communications networks as well as cellular telephone licences and 4G mobile internet, all with a view to expanding services in Paraguay with a vision of national coverage.’ The rebuttal came after a statement from the secretary general of the presidency of Paraguay, Miguel Lopez Perito, as quoted by Argentine newspaper La Nacion, in which he said: ‘the Clarin Group offered to sell Cablevision to several media organisations in our area, including the state telephone Copaco, and the offer will be considered and the issue discussed. They intend to leave the country’.
Cablevision currently has approximately 118,000 pay-TV subscribers in the capital area of Asuncion and Great Asuncion, as well as around 11,000 people taking its FiberTel broadband internet products. FiberTel offers broadband speeds ranging from 640kbps to 10Mbps. At USD139.90, the premium product is almost USD100 cheaper than Copaco’s 4Mbps fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) service.
It is not the first time Cablevision has courted speculation over its ownership.
In September 2011 it was forced to deny press reports suggesting that it was on the verge of being sold to either Mexico’s America Movil – which has a presence in the Paraguayan wireless sector through Claro Paraguay – or Telecom Argentina-owned cellco Nucleo (Telecom Personal Paraguay). The subsequently-discredited report valued the cableco at USD180 million.