Cable TV

9 Indian companies to manufacture STBs; iCAS cost less than $0.5: Govt

NEW DELHI: A total of nine private companies have been identified by India?s Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) for manufacturing indigenous set top boxes equipped with Indian Conditional Access System (iCAS).

However, the government department could not give a time-frame as to when indigenously-manufactured STBs would be ready to address the growing demands for boxes as digital rollout inches towards the finishing line.

Sources in DeitY said STBs with iCAS is a techno-commercial decision of the operators, but indicated it could coincide with the Phase IV deadline of Digital Addressable System in December this year.

In the third and fourth phase of ongoing digitisation of TV services in India, industry experts estimate need for approximately 70-80 million boxes.

DeitY, till recently part of the Communications Ministry but since then sliced away under the charge of minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, had been set up to promote e-Governance for empowering citizens, promoting inclusive and sustainable growth of the electronics, IT & ITeS industries, enhancing India?s role in Internet governance, promoting R&D and innovation and ensuring a secure cyber space.

The companies identified so far for manufacturing iCAS STBs and with whom ByDesign India Pvt. Ltd. of Bangalore had signed Memorandums of Understanding included New Delhi-based Melbon-Millenium Technologies, Solid-KMTS Engineering Pvt. Ltd, MyBox Technologies Pvt. Ltd and C-Net Communications India Pvt. Ltd.

The Bangalore-based companies include Smasher Communications Pvt. Ltd and Velankani Electronics Pvt. Ltd, while the others are Exza Info system from Pune, ABS Productions Pvt. Ltd. of Mumbai and Aurangabad-based Videocon.

ByDesign India Pvt. Ltd. had been shortlisted after a tendering process for the development and implementation of iCAS in association with a government organisation, Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).

The development stage of iCAS had been successfully completed as on November 14, 2015.

As per the agreement with STB manufacturers, ByDesign will make available the developed iCAS to all domestic manufacturers or to the operators at not more than $ 0.5/license (including smart card, if required) for a period of three years.

Government sources indicated more than 25,000 STBs with iCAS have already been deployed across the country between December 2015 and January 2016.

DeitY has recently informed a parliamentary committee on information technology that during five months till March 2016, iCAS was presented in various national and regional level conferences/forums. The product received encouraging response both from cable and DTH operators.

iCAS had been test deployed by 13 operators by March-end at Sandur, Challekere and Ranebennur in Karanataka; Chalisgaon and Wai in Maharashtra; Yeraguntala and Tadapatri in Andhra Pradesh; Madurai in Tamil Nadu; Durgapur in West Bengal; Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh; Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh; Bikaner in Rajasthan

and Haldwani in Uttarakhand.

The Department said operators in these towns had confirmed successful deployment of iCAS.

The installation of the system is in progress at seven more operator locations of Nevada in Bihar; Narayanpur and Leilunga in Chhattisgarh; Ganjam and Bhingarpur in Odisha; Pachora and Daund in Maharashtra.

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