Global Destiny Cable Inc. is spending as much as P700 million to switch from analog to digital cable service.
According to Global Destiny President Philip Chien, the company's investments in the next three years would reach P500 million to P700 million, which includes the purchase of set-up boxes and network upgrades.
In particular, some P100 million will be used to put up a cable TV headend, a master facility used for receiving TV signals for processing and distribution over a cable TV system.
"We hope to go digital starting third quarter of this year," Chien said in an interview at the sidelines of the 17th Philippine Cable Television Association (PCTA) Convention.
With the deployment of set-up boxes, Chien said illegal cable TV connections will be eliminated. "Going digital will surely eliminate piracy because the signal will be encrypted. Only those who pay for digital boxes can receive cable TV signal," he noted.
According to the PCTA, non-paying cable TV subscribers have already reached 1.5 million, at par with the paying subscribers recorded last year.
Global Destiny, the country's third-largest cable firm, charges customers around P500 monthly for its cable TV service, lower than Lopez-led SkyCable Corp.'s P800 fee. Global Destiny has not increased its rates since 2004.
"Keeping cable TV services as competitive as possible is the only way to go. Keeping our rates artificially high will eventually kill the industry," Chien said, adding that Global Destiny offers 88 channels compared to SkyCable's 66 channels.
In Metro Manila, SkyCable, the country's leading cable TV service provider, was the first to make the shift from analog to digital cable TV platform.