The times, they are a-changin' - especially for old school Pay TV customers. Last month, Foxtel revealed plans to move all broadcast subscribers from cable to satellite. Here's what this means for existing users.
For those who didn't get the memo, Foxtel is slowly kicking all customers off Cable TV services and migrating them to Satellite as part of a major restructure of the business. The move coincides with NBN Co's takeover of Australia's HFC cable network, which Foxtel uses to connect its customers.
Foxtel recently replaced its video streaming service with a new platform dubbed Foxtel Now - and it's priced competitively with Stan and Netflix. With subscriptions starting at just $10 per month, it's a far cry from the company's prohibitively expensive Pay TV offerings. (In fact, it's actually cheaper than Netflix's HD tiers which start at $13.99.)
But what do you actually get for your ten dollarydoos? Does Foxtel Now include Game Of Thrones? Do you still need to add a bunch of additional packs to make it worthwhile? We take a look at the prices, inclusions and your frequently asked questions.
It all started last year when a number of Foxtel customers claimed they had been pushed into receiving "satellite upgrades" by Foxtel support staff in place of their existing cable connections. Those who refused the upgrade were allegedly informed that the transition to satellite would soon be compulsory.
The 'Satellite First' program was later confirmed on Foxtel's community webpage, although the news is conspicuously absent from Foxtel's website and social media channels.
To date, the only official statement has come via an EFTM news report, in which a Foxtel spokeperson admitted the following:
Foxtel is moving to satellite only delivery for its broadcast subscribers... In the future, the NBN will fully manage the HFC network to deliver broadband services. Satellite is the best option for high quality video images watched on the large screens in homes and other venues.
Foxtel would not provide us with any additional info, but confirmed that the above quotes are factual.
Meanwhile, Foxtel's online community managers have been providing further details in response to customer queries. It appears that existing cable users can hold onto their connections (for now), but no new HFC customers will be added - even if they are in a cable area. HFC customers who move houses will also be installed on a satellite service.
The migration process - which affects several hundred thousand customers - is expected to be completed by 2023 at the latest, which is when the company's cable network lease with Telstra expires.
On the plus side, it appears Foxtel is waiving the satellite dish installation fee for some - but not all - customers. As a Foxtel rep explained to one customer: "Our Call Centre will be happy to have that conversation with you while your specific account information is in front of them. The cost may depend on a number of factors."
With increasingly more Australians moving to on-demand streaming models, it is perhaps unsurprising that Foxtel is keen to abandon its cable TV network. Anyone who is interested in Foxtel content should probably check out Foxtel Now instead - it's cheaper, can be viewed on multiple devices and doesn't require a satellite dish.