Telecoms giant i-Cable Communications has confirmed that its subsidiary Fantastic TV will begin broadcasting on May 14, ending days of speculation that the free-to-air channel’s launch might be delayed or even scrapped after its parent company decided to withdraw from the market. The free-to-air broadcaster will start off with one Cantonese channel with original and purchased content, before an English channel goes live 12 months later. The announcement on Wednesday put to rest days of speculation that the channel’s launch might be delayed or even scrapped, after operator i-Cable Communications’ parent company decided to sever ties with its loss-making entertainment arm. i-Cable shares plummet by almost half to one-year low as Wharf set to halt funding “We have nothing to add today. Right now the whole production team of Fantastic TV ... still remain in their positions and everything is normal,” i-Cable executive director Samuel Tsang Chin-cheung said during a Fantastic TV programme preview gala on Wednesday. He also dismissed speculation that the company would abandon its pay TV arm, Cable TV, in favour of Fantastic TV. With its license expiring in May, the future of Cable TV hangs in the balance after i-Cable had applied to defer a March 15 deadline on whether it would accept a 12-year renewal offer. The government confirmed on Wednesday it has extended the deadline by six weeks until April 26. Fantastic TV executive director Tom Cheung Ka-lung said the free TV station would source its news content from Cable TV. But he did not answer if Cable TV’s news department would be spared from the axe shall the pay TV station cease to operate. Fast-track disposal of i-Cable stake tipped for Hong Kong’s Wharf Under license requirements, Fantastic TV will need to inject over HK$1 billion in the first six years of operation. The future of i-Cable and its 2,176 employees remained a question mark after its parent company , developer Wharf said it will exit the unprofitable business of providing pay-television and broadband internet. The search of a buyer for the struggling company also fell through, Hong Kong’s largest retail landlord revealed. Funding to i-Cable, which reported a HK$313 million loss last year, will not be extended upon expiry, Wharf said. The pay-TV and broadband internet services provider still has up to HK$400 million of funds from Wharf from a December 2016 agreement.