Headline — 06 April 2019 — by Kory Leslie (freelance writer)
HBO legally enters Belizean broadcasting

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Apr. 4, 2019– After years of having limited and unauthorized access to the popular television network HBO, Belizeans may now enjoy a more legitimate viewers’ experience with this network via their local cable providers.

Today, the Belize Cable Television Operators Association (BCTVOA) met with HBO Latin America Group at the Best Western Biltmore Plaza to sign a two-year contract that would officially introduce HBO into the cable broadcasting market.

Under this agreement, Belizean cable stations will now offer authorized access to at least thirty acclaimed channels such as HBO, A&E, Liftetime, Syfy, etc.

According to Javier Figueras, Corporate Vice President of HBO Latin America, the settlement was necessary to align Belize with copyright compliance laws for programming, which have been enforced throughout the region. Piracy has become an obstacle to global media companies, and it is estimated by HBO Latin America that one in every two Belizean internet users accesses pirated television content.

The settlement is comprised of five agreements signed by Figueras and BCTVOA president, Evan Tench, which also included compensation for years of unauthorized access to channels owned by HBO Time Warner.

Figueras also shared a list of expected benefits that customers can now enjoy by subscribing to the HBO Max package, including the use of HBO on Demand and HBO GO, giving users the ability to stream past and current series via mobile devices and consoles at no additional cost.

   The need for this settlement, according to the legal advisor of BCTVOA, is to comply with the U.S.-Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act. Failure to comply would lead to sanctions that directly affect funding coming into the country under the Caribbean Basin Trade Initiative.

   It is the hope of HBO that this agreement is a major step towards combatting content piracy in Belize.

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