Mar 242015

Telecom operator Telefónica has announced that it will triple the connection speed for all its internet customers before the summer.

The communications provider will also switch all its ADSL clients to its new fiber-optic network as soon as the service is available in their location at no extra charge, sources familiar with the situation told EL PAÍS.

The unprecedented move rests on the fact that Telefónica knows its customers require a quality broadband connection in order to subscribe to its new services, such as streaming video or pay TV.

The company’s fiber-optic network currently serves 10.3 million homes, and this year is expected to reach a further 3.6 million households.

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Telefónica wants to buy Prisa’s 56% of Canal+ and has offered €600-€700 million, but the editorial group wants substantially more and has decided to pressure the telco by opening the process to other bidders, namely Al Jazeera, News Corporation, Liberty Global and Vivendi.

According to El Economista, the bid’s first period concluded on Friday, but Prisa didn’t get any satisfactory offer. Only Telefónica is close to offering what Prisa wants, as News Corporation has offered €200 million for the pay-TV platform. Al Jazeera and Vivendi’s offers remain under wraps and Liberty Global has recently shown interest in buying ONO, which may drive it to lose interest in Canal+.

Prisa is struggling under a huge debt, although it has managed to refinance the most immediate instalments. According to the newspaper, around €900 million needs to be paid in 2015, which is why the company will be looking forward to selling Canal+ for such an amount. It will get enough cashflow to pay the debt while abandoning the TV business, one of Prisa’s main objectives for the coming years.

The media group has been trying to sell Canal+ for a long time and is said not to be in a hurry to close the deal, prioritising profitability over rapidity. The plight of the pay-TV platform is not helping to solve the situation, as Canal+ keeps dropping subscriptions and has to face the increasing prices of broadcasting football rights.

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