MUMBAI: Undeterred by the failure of WWIL to kick off India’s first Headend-In-The-Sky (HITS) service, Jain TV Group’s Noida Software Technology Park Limited is planning to launch the digital cable distribution platform with Intelsat as its satellite partner.
NSTPL has roped in former Trai chairman Pradip Baijal as a mentor for the HITS project. He will provide leadership on a full-time basis.
“We plan to invest Rs 3 billion to roll out the HITS services. The investment will be made for satellite capacity through partnership with Intelsat, setting up Headend and distribution of set-top boxes to cable operators,” NSTPL chief of teleport business Jeet Narayan Singh told Indiantelevision.com.
The company has signed a multi-year, multi-transponder agreement for C-band capacity on Intelsat 902 at 62 deg East. It will use the capacity to create a white label, turnkey channel package that can be received and distributed by multiple system and local cable operators throughout the country.
Singh said the deal with Intelsat will ensure that the company has enough satellite capacity to carry channels. He also stated that a couple of cable operators have already come on board, but did not reveal their names.
What gives NSTPL the confidence to succeed when Essel Group’s Wire and Wireless (India) Ltd. failed with the HITS project?
“At that time the regulations were not clear. Now the situation is different and the government is firm on implementing digitisation. There is also no ambiguity as far as the regulations are concerned,” Singh said.
In 2010, WWIL had suspended its HITS services citing lack of clarity in the regulations. The roll-out of the services was hampered since the guidelines on issues like the terms on which broadcasters supply their channels were unclear.
Singh asserted that the HITS technology will be an addressable system and broadcasters will come to know about the exact number of subscribers through subscriber management system. This will result in a win-win situation for everyone in the ecosystem whether it is broadcasters, cable operators, government or consumers, he added.
The company has two teleport facilities, one in Hyderabad and the other in Greater Noida. The two teleports carry a total of 50 channels including two pay channels, Neo Sports and Food Food.
“Unlike DTH, the HITS technology will be a two-way communication. With HITS technology, we will be able to provide more value added services and help provide broadband connections,” said Singh.
The HITS platform is intended to facilitate the goal of transitioning to digital broadcast television signals by 2014.
Said NSTPL and Jain TV Group chairman Dr. J.K. Jain, “We are excited that our HITS platform would facilitate pan-India service beginning this September, signifying an important step in the transition to India’s national goal of full digitalisation of television signals by 2014. Any cable operator can offer digital cable service with a nominal investment of approximately Rs 500,000 instead of spending crores of rupees to upgrade their networks. The platform will launch with more than 200 digital television channels and will expand to 350 by 2013.”