By anguillian March 22, 2013 08:33



L-R: Mr. Lee Bertman, Ms. Shiannah Gumbs and Mr. John Grey

L-R: Mr. Lee Bertman, Ms. Shiannah Gumbs
and Mr. John Grey

Caribbean Cable Communications, a provider of television, internet and telephone services in Anguilla, held a press conference on Monday, March 18, to update the public on those services.

President of CCC, Mr. Lee Bertman, said the company’s decision to upgrade to digital TV was a tremendously important step on a number of fronts. “One is that it is very costly. We have five million EC dollars invested in this so far and that amount will keep increasing,” he told reporters. “There had to be some compelling reasons to do this. Our analog system, as good as is – and pretty soon I will say was – has reached the end of its life. We couldn’t do anything more with what we had. We had no more channel capability. Much of the equipment we were using was antiquated and some of it was not even replaceable. We also look at the competition which today is digital. There is a little bit of analog in radio but, other than that, TV is all digital these days so we had to join the digital generation.”

Mr.Bertman said that as a result the quality of the pictures was now excellent; the standard definition was much better than analog; the high definition was superlative; and for every analog channel on the network, it was possible to put on six digital channels, thus providing tremendous capability. There was now a technical capability of providing 300-400 channels. “We are announcing right now that two weeks after we turn off the analog, and we are totally digital, we are adding fifty channels of music services so the opportunities for new services, targeting specific elements of our population, are really absolutely fantastic,” he said. “Without digital, I would say our company would have been obsolete in two or three years. So as much as one doesn’t want to go through the tremendous challenges of going digital – and there are a lot of challenges and expense – it is absolutely essential to stay abreast of the competition and of what people expect.”

Mr. Bertman reported that: “We will have more channels with foreign languages and for our Spanish-speaking population…“Not only will we be able to serve our public better, but our resorts, with a much superior product. This is a four and five-star island and they want four and five-star service which we are able to provide with this equipment.”

The CCC President went on: “We are announcing that we will make available audio channels for all the local radio stations, and if you are interested please contact Shiannah about that. The other local effort that we are working at is to develop a channel that has information – it is typically news articles and it can be advertising. I see this as a joint project with Caribbean Cable and any parties with whom we would like to work. We have two local video channels. We have been working with them to get them properly on digital and, not surprisingly, there are some challenges, but I think that we will get there. So we will look at those and would also hope to have some or all of the local radio stations on this news channel as well – so we are looking at a lot more local content.”

Branch Manager, Shiannah Gumbs, speaking on the transition to digital, said the company first launched its digital services to premium subscribers in July 2012 and went fully digital on January 14, 2013.“To facilitate this, we removed six analog channels and added five new channels to our digital channel line-up,” she reported. “The second wave of channels came in February when we added the new tier sports package which is all in HD. This includes the tennis and soccer channels.These channels are on preview at no additional cost to our customers until June 1, 2013. I am proud to announce that 65% of our customer base has made the transition to digital. This includes the small hotels… and most of the villas.

“We are issuing digital set-up boxes to customers so that they can self- install. To assist, we have developed a-how-to-install-your-set-up-box-manual and these instructions are also available on our website in video format. For those who are not technically inclined and elderly, we are sending out an employee to assist them at no charge with the installation and re-scanning.”

Ms Gumbs addressed some of the complaints the company has been receiving. “Some of our customers are experiencing a loss in signal, pixelating and freezing,” she stated. “We would like to assure our customers that we are exercising every avenue available to us to resolve these issues. Most of these issues are being resolved over the phone… and there are two main steps to trouble-shooting. The first is to re-boot the box by unplugging the power cord for 15-20 seconds and the second is to re-scan if you are not receiving all the channels. For customers who are not technically inclined and elderly, we are making house calls – and we do understand this system is new to our customers and it does call for patience during the learning period. We will be publishing weekly tips to assist our customers on how to use the equipment as the system is very sensitive.”

Mr.Bertman said the company was looking to investingone or two million EC dollars more in the fibre optic system – and other areas of the business – and was also considering the possibility of putting some of the television programmes on the internet. “So you can be almost anywhere and watch CCN or BBC or Fox News depending on what you want to watch. There are endless possibilities to invest. The big question is what is suitable for this economy – what can people afford?” he added.

Mr. John Grey, CCC’s Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Financial Officer, re-emphasised: “The objective for us, and top priority for us, is to make sure that every single one of our digital customers enjoys the benefits of digital TV, HDTV, and the extra channels we have available. I just also want to re-emphasise that every single member of staff… is driven to ensure that every customer gets the full benefits and enjoys the full features of digital TV.”

By anguillian March 22, 2013 08:33


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