Subscribers flock to Foxtel Digital

Firm hooking up more than 13,000 homes per week

SYDNEY — Australians are rapidly embracing digital TV. Paybox Foxtel Digital announced Sunday it has signed 250,000 subscribers since it launched March 14.

The company, co-owned by News Corp., Kerry Packer’s PBL and telco Telstra, said more than 100,000 homes have been connected to the digital service, and it’s hooking up more than 13,000 homes per week.

Its launch was marred by industrial action by some technicians employed by firms hired to do the installations, who complained about pay and working conditions.

Foxtel said it has improved “installation resources and processes,” together with the contractors, without giving details.

“The demand for Foxtel Digital has been phenomenal,” said chief exec Kim Williams. “People have seen the value that the service offers.”

Initially, Williams had set a conservative goal of connecting 500,000 homes — about half the number who took the analog service — by the end of this year.

Foxtel Digital’s basic package features 36 channels and 30 audio channels plus new interactive sports and news services, and costs less than A$12 ($8.40 ) per week.