Philippines bans SkyCable DTH

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The Philippine’s National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has banned SkyCable, the satellite DTH subsidiary of broadcaster ABS-CBN.

SkyCable has about 1.5 million subscribers according to local reports.

The NTC says that SkyCable’s licences have expired. However, ABS-CBN has also been ordered to ‘cease-and-desist’ its terrestrial broadcasts because on May 4th its transmission licence expired.

SkyCable’s cable TV and broadband businesses are reportedly not affected by the June 30th cease-and-desist order.

SkyCable – and ABS-CBN – were operating under a provisional permission to serve 251 cities and regions by DTH. “Upon the expiration of RA 7969, SkyCable no longer has a valid and subsisting congressional franchise to install, operate and maintain a direct broadcast satellite service”, stated the NTC.

The NTC has also ordered SkyCable to stop taking subscription revenues and to return all unconsumed cash, credits on deposit or advanced payments to subscribers.

ABS-CBN is appealing the close-down ruling at the country’s Supreme Court.

SkyCable boss Carlo Katigbak said that the company would start reducing its 11,000-strong workforce in August, and says that its losses are now running at PHP 1 billion per month (about $20 million). In its latest financial filing for the third quarter of 2019, ABS-CBN reported a 53 per cent increase in profit to PHP 2.27 billion from January to September. Advertising revenue alone rose 15 per cent to PH 17.1 billion.


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