Foxtel is cutting the cable and switching to satellite
With NBN Co taking control of the cable network, Foxtel is placing its bets on satellite instead.
Foxtel has had a rough time of it over the last few years. With streaming services like Netflix and Stan stealing the limelight by offering hit movies and TV shows on demand for a fraction of the cost of a Foxtel subscription, the formerly dominant pay TV provider has had to shift gears in order to stay relevant.
Now it seems Foxtel is gearing up for another shift in its operations, with a report from EFTM revealing that the company is abandoning the cable network it has relied upon for over two decades in favour of going wireless.
According to the report, Foxtel is in the process of migrating all its customers from the hybrid-fibre coaxial (HFC) cable network to its satellite network instead. The motivation for this move stems from the rollout of the NBN, as the cable network Foxtel uses (currently owned by Foxtel parent company Telstra) is being handed off to NBN Co.
While this wouldn't actually prevent Foxtel from continuing to use the network for supplying its customers with pay TV, it appears that sticking with the cable network has proven a significant expense for the company.
"Moving customers from HFC to satellite is a commercial decision for Foxtel’s management," a Telstra representative told EFTM. "Telstra received $35 million of revenue from Foxtel for their use of the HFC network in the first half of FY18."
Money isn't the only motivator either, it seems.
"Satellite is the best option for high quality video images watched on the large screens in homes and other venues," a Foxtel spokesperson told finder.com.au. "Satellite is less prone to outages than the HFC cable and delivers great quality HD signals.”
While the switch from cable to satellite won't cost Foxtel customers any of their pay TV channels, it could prove frustrating for Aussies who like to watch free-to-air TV through Foxtel. On its cable service, Foxtel re-transmits free-to-air channels so that you can browse both pay TV and free-to-air with a single remote, no input switching required. However, on satellite some free-to-air channels aren't re-transmitted, meaning you'll need to keep a separate TV tuner plugged into your TV to watch them.
Details on the changeover and what it will mean for Foxtel's cable customers have yet to be fully revealed, but we'll let you know as soon as we learn more.