Saturday 22 October 2016

Digicel taking on tech giants, blocks ads on network

Published 30/09/2015 | 15:44

Digicel owner Denis O'Brien
Digicel owner Denis O'Brien

Mobile and communications firm Digicel, which is currently raising $1.8bn in a public flotation, is to implement new ad-blocking technology in a new shot across the bow of internet companies.

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The operator, which has mobile networks across the South Pacific and the Caribbean, is to deploy ad-blocking technology from Israeli company Shine.

“This is about giving customers the best experience and about getting access to broadband to the unconnected and allowing them to benefit from the opportunities it affords,” said businessman Denis O’Brien,  the owner of Digicel.

“Companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook talk a great game and take a lot of credit when it comes to pushing the idea of broadband for all. But they put no money in. Instead they unashamedly trade off the efforts and investments of  network operators like Digicel to make money for themselves. That’s unacceptable, and we as a network operator, are taking a stand against them to force them to put their hands in their pockets and play a real role in improving the opportunities for economic empowerment for the global population.”

Ad-blocking software is popular among younger people, with a recent report from Dublin startup Pagefair estimating that 20pc of all internet browsing in Europe is now being affected by ad-blocking software.

Digicel says that it is looking to companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook to “enter into revenue sharing agreements with it so that this money in turn can be reinvested in network deployment”.

“Currently, these companies do not pay to make use of the network and the services they provide on it suck up bandwidth to make money for themselves through advertising while putting no money in,” said a company statement.

The service will starting in Jamaica and roll out to Digicel’s other markets in the Caribbean and South Pacific in the coming months.

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