Lippo Group to invest $650m in multimedia

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Lippo Group, through its subsidiary PT First Media Tbk, will invest up to US$650 million over four years to strengthen the company's broadband-based multimedia business.

First Media Chief Executive Officer Roberto Fernandez Feliciano said here Thursday that the money would be used to expand the company's broadband communication networks, including its high-speed internet connection and cable TV services.

"We will invest a large amount of money in information, communication and entertainment for the next four years as part of our commitment to build an outstanding company in those sectors," Feliciano told reporters.

First Media, formerly PT Broadband Multimedia Tbk, provides services through its broadband communication network, obtaining most of its revenue from cable television in Jakarta, Bogor, Tangerang, Bekasi, Surabaya, Bali and Pekanbaru.

Feliciano predicted that the multimedia industry would grow to $18 trillion in the next few years, and that broadband, as a key means of accessing multimedia, would be the main driving force behind the business.

He said only 500,000 of the nation's 40 million television users subscribed to cable. Of the 18 million internet users in the country, only 2 million accessed the web regularly.

"The business is quite promising. We would therefore spend a lot of money to take advantage of this big market," he said.

He said Lippo Group had been aggressively expanding its multimedia network to provide connections to households and businesses.

Feliciano said Lippo Group subsidiary PT First Media Tbk is the largest broadband provider in the country.

He said Lippo Group would develop First Media as the center of the company's multimedia business. With the expansion plan, he said, First Media is expected to be able to provide services to at least one million households by 2009.

"We will develop this business with our own resources, or in partnership with other companies, so that we can provide quality and reliable service to meet market demand," he was quoted as saying by Antara News wire. (14)
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