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HBO back on Cable as Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica regulates

“We would be able to finalise a number of the negotiations that we had commenced. Some entities were able to launch a number of new programmes on June 1 (and) similarly, a number of other cable Operators will be doing likewise, throughout the three month period. The (negotiation) process itself will take time, based on the due diligence that the international rights holders need to do Some of them actually do clinical site checks to ensure that the technical aspects of the operation is in keeping with what they require”

JACCO Chairman Winsome Witter in an interview published in the Jamaica Observer interview dated Thursday, June 11th, 2015

While Digicel SportsMax, which also carries Television Jamaica’s Sports Network, can transport you to Sports Heaven as prophesied in Digicel Sportsmax NBA deal means fiber and 4G LTE coming this year, nothing quite beats a good HBO package.

digital-tv-remote

So it makes sense that the Cable Operators, after having gotten a three (3) month reprieved from the OPM (Office of the Prime Minister), which is run by the Prime Minister of Jamaica Portia Simpson Miller and her sidekick the Minister of Information Sandrea Falconer, should seek to get back the HBO Packages first.

After all, Game of Thrones just ended, but there are loads more mindless television programs to watch in the much-loved HBO package during the Summer of 2015.  Plus, (49) Cable Operators  are probably facing mountain of complaints by many customers emanating from the CAC (Consumer Affairs Commission) about missing Channels and breach of contract since the ban came into effect Sunday May 31st 2015.

BCJ the GOJ Bully – Cable Operators get away thanks to Procedural Error

The BCJ (Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica) got a slap on the wrist this time for committing a procedural error in trying to bully Ali-Baba and his forty nine (49) Cable Operators in Jamaica into removing some nineteen (19) Cable Channels without prior notice, namely:

  • Encore Black
  • Encore Family
  • Encore Love
  • Encore Suspense
  • Encore WAM
  • Encore Classic
  • Encore Drama
  • Encore Mystery
  • Encore Movie Plex
  • The Movie Channel Xtra 4
  • Showtime East
  • Showtime West
  • Showtime TOO
  • Showtime 2
  • Showtime Showcase
  • Starz Comedy
  • Starz West
  • Starz Kids & Family
  • Starz Multiplex

But wait??!!

After checking those nineteen (19) Cable Channels as listed in both the Jamaica Gleaner  and the Jamaica Observer, I don’t see HBO among them. Possibly it’s included among the other seventy nine (79) Cable Channels that make up a grand total of ninety eight (98) Cable Channels that were originally slated to be removed.

Still, the forty nine (49) Cable Operators, who have been illegally broadcasting the Intellectual property of US Content Providers in breach of the Copyright Act 1995 for years, have gotten a 9th hour reprieve Monday August 31st 2015.

Life is so unfair! But then again, neither is bullying!

Cable Operators and BCJ – From Bully to Regulator as Mama P draws for CARICOM Powers

Ali-Baba and his forty nine (49) Cable Operators are now working against the clock as it is now June 2015 and Monday August 31st 2015 is basically two (2) months away.

Hence their JACCO (Jamaica Association of Community Cable Operators) Chairman Winsome Witter was quick to declare some good news in terms of finalizing agreements in the last two (2) weeks to get HBO back to certain Cable Channels.

JACCO Chairman Winsome Witter, representing the forty nine (49) Cable Operators has been working with the regulator, the BCJ, to find a solution to the problems that the Cable Operators face in negotiating with the US Content Providers, mostly TV and Radio Broadcast Networks and wholesale content resellers of Cable packages.

None of the forty nine (49) Cable Operators have had their Cable License revoked or are currently facing notices sent to them to have their licenses revoked by the BCJ. Also, the BCJ, now a partner and no longer a bully, is working with each of the forty nine (49) Cable Operators individually to ensure compliance without disrupting the specific agreements to provide certain Channels in their Cable packagers.

This as many of the Cable Operators have had to face of irate customers who have complained to the  Consumer Affairs Commission seeking “Justice” as if Justice was a Dancehall Artiste on one of those Cable TV Community Channels!

In so doing, the BCJ is acting as a true regulator, instead of using the big stick of a GOJ bully to pressure the forty nine (49) Cable Operators into compliance without prior notification. Plus, they got some great animated explanation Q&A advertisements for their actions.

Meanwhile the discussion is slowly going regional, as the OPM, in declaring the three (3) month reprieve, is also awakening CARICOM (Council for Trade and Economic Development of the Caribbean Community) in a bid to make this a Caribbean-wide trade negotiation with our neighbours up North.

Jamaica, after all, isn’t the only country that has Cable Operators stealing Cable Channels using Satellite dishes, multiplexing the analog Channels and rebroadcasting it using Analog Coax Cables and Repeaters.

Folks, something tells me this issue is going to get really complicated and published in “nuff -nuff” regional and international Newspapers real soon. Mama P, with her CARICOM powers combined, is planning to draw the US Content Providers to the Bargaining Table as the clock is ticking.

As Caribbean people, during this Summer of 2015, we accept that one thing is true; Valor Margulis – All Men Must Die!

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.

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