Paraguay’s Copaco finally launches IPTV

Paraguayan state-owned telco Copaco has launched its much-anticipated IPTV service in the capital city of Asunción and its environs, according to local reports.

Online news source América Economía reports that the service has now entered full commercial service in Asunción and the interior of the country, subject to network capabilities.

Copaco is estimated to have spent US$ 25mn on developing the new service, and triple-play packages are being priced at US$ 64.80 per month, with installation offered for free during the next six months.

The IPTV service was initially expected to launch in December 2011, which then slid to March 2012 and beyond, as content partner HBO is thought to have voiced serious concerns about the content protection systems being put in place.

Copaco operates its own network infrastructure, which is made up of a combination of copper-based ADSL and fibre, and has also been acquiring GPON equipment for the rollout of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connections.

Around 220,000 Paraguayan households are believed to take pay-TV services from a total of 850,000 TV households, with cable TV operator MSO Multicanal (owned by Argentina’s Grupo Clarin) being the main player with 122,400 subscribers at the end of June 2011, according to research by Informa Telecoms & Media (publisher of IP&TV News).

Piracy is believed to be a major problem in Paraguay, with several cable operators complaining about the impact of the so-called ‘AZBox’, which allows users illicit access to satellite-delivered pay TV channels.

The 2011 report from copyright body the IIPA reported that “Paraguay’s weak enforcement activity against high levels of the most basic forms of piracy remains unchanged.”

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