If you are one of the thousands of OneLink customers who are still able to receive the company’s 55 basic cable channels without a converter box, you should know change is coming soon.
Starting in the first quarter of 2011, the cable television provider will begin converting the last of its remaining analog transmission infrastructure into a digital platform, at a cost of about $1 million, Layra Zapata, OneLink Communications’ sales and marketing director for said.
The process responds to a mandate by the Federal Communications Commission, which requires all cable companies to switch to all-digital by 2012.
Zapata said the conversion process will be done in phases over a period of six months to a year, in a way that it will be transparent to customers. However, clients who do not currently use a converter box will eventually have to go pick one up.
“We will be notifying clients as we begin working in their areas,” she said, noting work will likely begin in small coverage areas first. “In this end, converting our internal infrastructure to digital will allow us to offer more services to our clients in the long-run.
“The digital platform will open up more bandwidth so that we can add more channels and more services, including high definition channels and better high-speed Internet access,” she said.
OneLink has yet to establish what costs, if any, will be passed on the clients.
In September, OneLink asked the FCC for a waiver to its rule prohibiting cable systems from scrambling their basic service tier signals, so that consumers with cable-ready televisions can receive the service without the need for a set-top box. The scrambling prohibition would impede OneLink from converting all of its system to digital, and curbing the problem of signal theft, Zapata said.
The company is still waiting for a response from the FCC.
OneLink Communications serves the San Juan metropolitan area — including San Juan, Bayamón, Guaynabo, Trujillo Alto, Carolina, Toa Baja, Toa Alta and Cataño — where it competes head-to-head with satellite television services offered by Puerto Rico Telephone’s ClaroTV, Dish Network and DirecTV.
Business reporter with 27 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.