Pioneer Mindanao CATV operator first to offer VOB

Mar 11, 2013

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Cagayan de Oro City (March 11, 2013) Mindanao’s pioneer cable television company marks another milestone by being the first to over “Voice Over Broadband” (VOB) service in the island.

 “VOB enables the delivery of an integrated voice service with cable-Internet and/or cable TV subscription,” said Engr. Elpidio M. Paras, president and chief executive officer of  Parasat Cable TV, Inc., the first cable television (CATV) company in Mindanao during the product launch held March 8 at a local restaurant. “This means that voice, internet and cable TV will pass through a single connection and subscribers can avail of one bundled service package instead of three separate subscriptions.”

Parasat has partnered with Bayan Telecommunications Inc. (Bayan) for the voice service feature and will initially be offering the “Triple Play” package in Cagayan de Oro and eventually to all its other service areas. 

Mr. Paras said the new service does not involve the installation of any new cables for their existing Parasat CATV and Cable 21 internet subscribers except the special modems with voice ports and can be activated immediately. All three services can also be operated simultaneously by the Triple Play subscriber without any degradation of any of the three services, he added. 

“All calls to Bayan Telecommunications 200,000 existing subscribers nationwide are free,”

said Mikhail Rio P. Villacin, sales head-Mindanao who represented Bayan at the launch. “Callers will also be able to call subscribers of other land line systems since interconnection is mandated by law.” 

Parasat began offering CATV services in Cagayan de Oro City in 2000 and now serves the adjacent municipalities of  Opol, Tagoloan, Balingasag, Villanueva, Jasaan and El Salvador and Gingoog cities in Misamis Oriental. It also has affiliates in the cities of Malaybalay, Valencia and Don Carlos, Bukidnon and San Carlos City, Negros Occidental. It is one of the remaining independent CATV companies following the consolidation of the industry into some big players and medium-sized independent operators. 

Parasat had its humble beginnings in 1976 as an electronics retail store and repair shop known as Paras Electro-Industrial Systems. It offered customized music cassette tape recording and video (betamax) rentals, and specialized in the installation of high-end sound systems for discotheques which were then in vogue like Mindanao Hotel’s Salamin and Alta Tierra in Cagayan de Oro, Hotel del Rio in Iloilo and Xenon disco in Davao. 

Paras Electro also pioneered the installation of widescreen TV screens in fast foods and restaurants which were hooked up to video cassette recorders and satellite television featuring NBA Basketball and world boxing mega matches.

 In 1985, Mr. Paras started manufacturing satellite dishes and television receive only (TVRO) systems which became an unwitting player in Philippine history when it beamed the 1986 EDSA Revolution and the 1990 Gulf War live to the living rooms of Kagay-anons via the then fledgling Cable News Network, now better known as CNN. 

But it was in 1989 when Executive Order 205 deregulating the cable TV industry was signed by Pres. Corazon Aquino that business really took off as CATV operators all over the country made a beeline to Parasat’s humble office in Cruz Taal Street to order their TVRO systems. 

In 1991, Paras established Parasat Cable TV, Inc. as the first ever CATV system in Mindanao. With an initial investment of P200, 000 and less than 10 employees, its headend was the backyard of the Paras residence in Villa Ernesto Subdivision in Gusa. With an initial offering of 12 channels, the service was first offered to their neighbors in the subdivision. 

Today, Parasat Cable continues to grow and has given birth to diversified interests in adventure sports (Dahilayan Adventure Park/Great White Water Tours), coffee shop (Coffee Works), salon and spa (Vanity Works and Ban Sabai), call center/BPO ( Arriba Telecontact and Paramedix Inc.) and  English proficiency training (Versatel).

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