‘Informal’ signal theft still a problem

Broadcasters have complained bitterly for years about understated subscriber numbers, hence their enthusiasm for digital transmission and secure cable distribution. But some parts of the world, including the Middle East, India, Asia and South America, still suffer unashamed signal theft and piracy of content.

Bolivia, in South America, is one such problem area where Cotel, a co-operative of telco’s says there are between 25 per cent and 37 per cent of such illegal hook-ups representing 10,000-15,000 lost subscribers in the city of La Paz alone.

But the La Paz losses are not entirely from unscrupulous residents. An employee of Cotel has been arrested amidst allegations of carrying out illegal connections.  “High piracy rates produced great losses for the entity; that is the reason why it took the decision of investigating and following all legal steps so that those responsible for that crime must be punished”, stated the Cooperative’s VP, Eduardo Lehm.

Cotel is beefing up its inspection process, which includes “surprise procedures”. At present, Cotel offers two cable TV bundles. One of those plans offer 101 channels at $26.50 and the other one offers 65 channels at $19.50. Therefore, illegal connections would generate about $190,000 worth of losses per month for Cotel

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