Sean Latty CEO Digicel

Better service promised, a dozen more programs after digital upgrade

By Monique Washington

Problems encountered by Nevis residents subscribing to Digicel/Digitel Play cable television will be solved when the provider upgrades from analog to digital programming, according to CEO Sean Latty.

Latty apologized to Nevis subscribers and vowed to improve the quality of service. In 2013, Digicel bought the former cable television provider Caribbean Cable Communications.

Latty was responding to a“Letter to the Editor” appearing in the May 20 edition of the Observer. The distraught customer was dissatisfied with Digicel’s service.

“Nothing in this world is perfect, but I think that the cable company we had before gave us a reasonable package we could have worked with,” complained the customer. “There were some pretty good channels, along with the religious ones, various networks and of course the news channels. But I notice that without a word to the general public from whom you collect monthly fees, you have quietly and systematically removed a lot of these channels. Since we pay, do you not think we should have a say?”

The customer complained,“English language channels have so much Spanish language in them.”

“You are watching a documentary, all the ads are in Spanish,” the customer complained.“Even at the end when you try to read the conclusion of the story on the screen, it is in Spanish. The last time I checked we live in Nevis, an English speaking territory. How come the Spanish speaking channels, do not have any English ads in them?”

In an exclusive interview on Tuesday, Latty told the Observer, Digicel/Digicel Play is upgrading customers from analog to digital service. According to Latty, some of the previous channels had to be removed because Digicel was denied access.

“Our primary focus is to make sure the Digicel/Digitel Play platform is an improvement on the analog service,” Latty explained.“Our focus is to convert customers to digital programming. Digicel Play will be much better.”

Latty said at present only about 50 percent of cable subscribers on Nevis have digital service. He encouraged customers to take the free upgrade. The CEO said the upgrade is important to provide a standard of high-quality service.

Latty said an upgrade takes only a few minutes. A technician comes to the customer’s house, installs a modem if one is not already there and installs the digital box. He pointed out the upgrade will provide customers with many new features. Latty took the blame for not promoting the new service appropriately and explaining to existing customers how the new system will work and its attributes.

“We agree we need to make Digicel customers more aware and to educate them about what Digicel Play offers,” Latty said. “The new system will provide a better viewing experience with higher quality and a dozen new channels.”

The analog system had 73 channels and the digital system will provide 85 channels with additional audio music channels. Customers who have an analog television may experience some minor problems, but Latty encourages them to upgrade to digital.

“There are some channels customers used to have that came from different feeds,” Latty said.“When we took over we had to make sure all the channels we provide are legitimate and paid for. We went to all the program providers and are still negotiating with some of them.”

He said the reason some channels have Spanish advertising is because Digicel is receiving programming from Latin America.

“There are only Spanish advertisements on some channels because content providers provide programming from the Caribbean and Latin America,” Latty explained. The United States has different restrictions and laws that don’t allow us to carry their programming. They treat us like Caribbean and Latin America.”

He said in the near future, new channels will be added to their digital service.

Latty noted they encourage customer feedback to help Digicel/Digitel Play improve service. He said the first thing customers need to do is have their service upgraded for free from analog to digital service.