Bharti forays into TV distribution services

By SiliconIndia   |   Wednesday, 18 June 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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Bharti Teleservices has become the first telecom company to foray into television distribution services after a tieup with cable network firm Hathway Cable & Datacom.

NEW DELHI: Hathway Cable & Datacom is jointly promoted by the Rahejas and Rupert Murdoch’s Star TV. Sunil Mittal-promoted Bharti Teleservices will distribute its digital television and other broadband services after the conditional access system (CAS) is rolled out in India.

Its promoters also have a 10 per cent financial interest in TV Today Network, which runs the Aaj Tak and Headlines Today news channels.

Earlier, other telecom firms such as Reliance Infocomm, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) had also indicated that they were planning to enter the television distribution business to use their extensive telecom network, particularly their last mile reach.

Hathway will roll out the conditional access system in Delhi by using Bharti’s telecom network for distribution of digital cable TV signals and other broadband services.

Hathway will be using over 150 km of Bharti’s fibre optic network, spread across Delhi. This would help it to efficiently distribute its digital cable television services from strategically placed head-ends in the Capital, a company statement said.

Hathway will be locating optic fibre nodes at various points in the network. This will substantially improve the quality of television signals and also enable other value-added services through digital set-top boxes.

The company is planning to set up more than 100 nodes across the city in one year. Moreover, Bharti’s underground fibre cabling will make Hathway’s digital Cable TV set-up more reliable.

Hathway, in which Star TV holds a 26 per cent stake, is investing heavily in rolling out the conditional access system in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai in the first phase. It provides cable services in Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore and Pune.

The company will be rolling out digital conditional access system by importing subscriber management system from Mindport of the US and digital set-top boxes from Humax of Korea.

It has entered into an alliance with NDS, a leading player in open end-to-end digital pay TV services, to ensure a secure deployment of digital and pay TV services.

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