Digicel acquires Sky Pacific – with restrictions

TELECOMMUNICATIONS giant Digicel has acquired ownership and direct control of the region’s largest satellite-based television network, Sky Pacific. Formal acquisition, from 1st April 2016, came six months after Digicel initially announced it was buying the regional network from Fiji Television Limited. The original purchase price of FJ$5.3million has been revised downwards to FJ$4million as a result of restrictions placed on a special license given to Digicel. Granting the 12-year special license Fiji’s Attorney General Aiyaz SayedKhaiyum, who also holds the Communications Ministry portfolio, announced there were some accompanying conditions.

These include withdrawal from Sky Pacific transmissions of any local (Fiji) content including Fiji Television Limited’s Fiji One network. Also withdrawn is the Pacific Channel which regional broadcasters had used to actively promote regionally-produced television programs. The restrictions mean rural viewers in Fiji without access to terrestrial coverage will no longer be able to view Fiji One news programs which were formerly available via satellite-delivered Sky Pacific. Areas in Fiji affected by the change include Rotuma, the cyclone-prone Lau, Yasawa and Lomaiviti groups, and parts of Kadavu.

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