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Funds News

Venezuela DirecTV resumes service after govt-backed deal

CARACAS, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Venezuelan television subscription service DirecTV began resuming operations on Friday and investment firm Scale Capital said it had reached an agreement with the DirecTV’s local affiliate that had the backing of Venezuela’s government.

Parent company AT&T Inc said in May it was shuttering the Venezuelan service because it was unable to comply both with the country’s laws and U.S. sanctions, which bar U.S. companies from contracting with agencies linked to the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Scale Capital, which lists a contact address in Chile and has an investment portfolio that includes South America-focused firms, said on its website it had “reached an agreement” to restart service using DirecTV’s “installed infrastructure.”

“The satellite television service will be reactivated automatically to the more than two million subscribers in the country, who will have free service for a period of 90 days,” Scale Capital said in a statement on its website.

The statement makes no mention of AT&T.

AT&T and Scale Capital did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Venezuela’s telecommunications regulator Conatel tweeted that DirecTV “via the company Scale Capital, restored the subscription television station,” adding that the move complied with supreme court rulings on the matter.

Some Venezuelans reported early Friday on social media that DirecTV service appeared to have resumed.

DirecTV has for years been a mainstay of poor neighborhoods in Venezuela, where the company’s antennas were often visible on the zinc roofs of low-income cinder-block houses. (Reporting by Brian Ellsworth and Corina Pons; Editing by Richard Chang)

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