Claro de Puerto Rico on Wednesday launched a commercial IPTV service in 37 towns, five years after first announcing plans for its introduction, following protracted arguments over pay-TV licensing conditions and recent fibre-optic rollouts to support bundles including high speed internet and richly functioned high definition (HD) digital TV. As reported by CommsUpdate, Claro president Enrique Ortiz de Montellano announced that the IPTV launch was imminent three months ago, after the telco upgraded its fixed broadband network in October 2012 with the launch of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and fibre-to-the-curb (FTTC) platforms, while its previous pay-TV offerings were based on a satellite direct-to-home (DTH) platform launched in 2010. Regulatory approval of Claro’s IPTV licence was obtained in November 2011, having originally been requested by the operator in 2008, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database.
Mr Ortiz de Montellano, quoted by local English language site Newsismybusiness.com, announced at the launch of IPTV: ‘After years of limited options and geographic monopolies, consumers in Puerto Rico have access to cutting edge technology and a new experience in TV service subscription…Today is a special day because it marks the date when we break the geographic monopoly that cable companies have had and allows consumers to choose their pay-TV service provider…TV service through Internet Protocol is one of many that Claro can offer as a result of last year’s deployment of its modern and powerful next-generation private fibre-optic network, which is still expanding islandwide,’ adding the company expects to expand IPTV to the remainder of the island within the next three years. He also heralded the wider benefits of fibre connectivity, saying: ‘This super highway will connect Puerto Rico homes to all-new advanced services that require high bandwidth and stability. It’s the platform through which new technologies like entertainment services management through smartphones and tablets will run.’ Claro is offering IPTV service with or without a contract, standalone or bundled with telephony and internet, with channel packages ranging from USD19.99 to USD74.99; triple-play bundles start at USD59.99. The IPTV service offers interactive features built on Microsoft’s Media Room platform, and includes amongst its channel line-up 50 HD channels (to be increased to 80 in the near future).