Several weeks after concluding a “friends and family” trial period of its television-via-broadband technology, Claro de Puerto Rico is ready for a full launch of the highly-anticipated ClaroTV service across the San Juan metropolitan area and several major towns before month’s end, company President Enrique Ortiz de Montellano confirmed Thursday.
“We were testing the service with a limited group of about 200 people during Christmas and that period is now over, and we’ve begun migrating them as regular customers. It’s going very well,” he said.
On Thursday night, the carrier posted information on its website about the service and bundles that will be available, as well as details on the lineup of about 200 channels it will offer, 40 or so of which will be high definition.
Claro also uploaded information about the bundles it will market, as well as a form through which interested customers can pre-register to become “the first to sign up for ClaroTV service,” Ortiz de Montellano said.
Triple-play — telephone, Internet and TV — tiers will be available from “essential” to “signature,” allowing clients to choose just how much service they need. Pricing for bundles and individual services have yet to be posted.
The website notes that ClaroTV service will be available with or without contract — although the carrier will offer discounts on 12- or 24-month commitments.
“The service is there, we have the customers, the launch is imminent,” said Ortiz de Montellano.
“The ‘friends and family’ period helped us get feedback from them on service, channels and the chance to test the service live in homes in many areas,” he said. “We’re going to launch a very competitive offer, because without one, we won’t grab customers.”
Initially, ClaroTV will be available in the metro area, Mayagüez, Ponce and other major towns. The deployment will take place in stages as Claro completes delivering the necessary infrastructure, which is separate from the extensive telephone network it currently operates, Ortiz de Montellano said.
“We’ll be announcing when the service becomes available in an area and will continue adding urbanizations as we go along,” he said. “We’re delivering fiber to different parts of the island.”
Five years in the making
ClaroTV’s arrival comes five years after the carrier applied for a cable franchise license from the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board in February 2008. Although the carrier got the official go-ahead in November 2011 to launch the service, it has held off from going forward for several reasons, Ortiz de Montellano explained.
“Delivering world-class infrastructure takes time. For this service we’re delivering fiber-to-the-home and, in some cases, fiber-to-the-curb, which isn’t something that happens quickly,” he said. “This requires permits, construction, fiber and many things.”
“Then we had to fine-tune and upgrade the platform. We then had to move on to signing all of the service contracts for the channels, which doesn’t happen overnight,” he said. “We didn’t make the decision to delay the launch, it’s just that it’s a process.”
Claro backs baseball
Prior to his aside with this media outlet, Ortiz de Montellano unveiled the company’s latest social responsibility initiative, through which it will contribute to the Carlos Beltrán Baseball Academy, founded by the Puerto Rican Major League Baseball outfielder two years ago.
As part of the plan, Claro developed several initiatives to raise funds for the academy to make possible scholarships to students. Claro will donate $1 for every sale or contract renewal of any of its mobile, Internet, television or landline services during March, and $1 for each additional “Like” on Claro’s Facebook page.
“Carlos’ baseball academy is a project that deserves our support, since it seeks improvement through education and sport,” he said. “We know we have the support of our customers in social initiatives such as this one that help us contribute to so valuable, worthy causes.”
The Carlos Beltrán Baseball Academy is a specialized high school with a current enrollment of about 136 students in grades 10 to 12, who not only get to pursue their diploma, but develop their athletic skills as well. Most students apply for scholarships to get into the prestigious nonprofit academic institution.
“My primary desire is to give back to Puerto Rico what it has given me for so many years through its support. I thank Claro for its willingness to support initiatives such as this one that aim to develop our future leaders and professionals,” said Beltrán, a three-time Gold Glove winner in town this week to play for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.