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More than 80,000 Fijian households switch to TV app

The Walesi OTT Mobile App was launched in the Fijian capital of Suva on Tuesday, allowing more than 80,000 Fijian households with TV access to watch from the comfort of their mobile phones.

The app was launched by Fiji's Minister for Communication Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and with the ever increasing penetration of smart phones globally, the app comes in handy for Fijians to watch live TV from their phones.

Khaiyum said that around 82,000 Fijians had switched on to Walesi out of the 120,000 households which have access to TV in the South Pacific Island nation.

“The OTT we are launching today is a potential revenue not just for the internet providers but also an opportunity for television companies as well, “Khaiyum said.

The app is available now for download free of charge on Play Store for Android phones and Apple Store for iPhone users. As Fiji is officially transitioning to digital TV, this is an exciting move to ensure the future will be brighter for the entire country.

Walesi is a new digital TV service that will be available to everyone via aerial or satellite. By using a Walesi Set Top Box Fijians will have access to all free-to-air channels in better quality, and have the option to purchase additional channels.

Thanks to Walesi, TV Broadcasters will now be able to reach the entire country, including the smaller outer islands. This will be transformational for Fiji.

Walesi was rolled out in Fiji nationwide in December last year after several trials and through this Fijians are able to watch eight channels on free to air TV.

Minister Khaiyum said the plan is to switch off the analog platform in June 2019. This means the only system used by everyone would be the Walesi Box and people would just have to pay for the Sky Pacific channels to be activated on the Walesi box.

Digicel had agreed to move Sky Pacific to the Walesi platform when it has nationwide coverage as part of their license condition.

Meanwhile., In a bid to provide high internet connectivity the Fijian Government will install a dedicated submarine cable between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

The government Tuesday signed an agreement with telecommunications companies for the Savusavu to Suva underwater cable system.

While signing the agreement, Communications Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says with the setting up of this cable Fijians will have faster internet connectivity of speeds up to 100 gigabytes per second.

Sayed-Khaiyum says currently Fiji uses the microwave linkages speeds which has a speed of 2 gigabytes per second and is sometimes unreliable.

The Minister says the submarine cable will also have the ability to expand to 8 terabytes per second in the future.

“It is very critical for us to be able to ensure that we have Vanua Levu participate in the economic development and also to provide services to the people living in Vanua Levu and encourage businesses with high internet speeds and this has the potential of actually unleashing a particular opportunities that did not exist in Vanua Levu and this is part and parcel of what we are doing and the signing commemorates the fact that we have the telecom companies that will be contributing to the usage of the cable.”

The total cost of the project is $7.457 million (US$3.5 million) of which $5.95 million (US$2.8 million) has been borrowed from the World Bank and $1.5 million (US$718,000) has been given by government....

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