Hathway sees opportunity in digitisation delay, orders for 1 mn more STBs

MUMBAI: Hathway Cable and Datacom has decided to procure an additional 1 million set-top-boxes (STBs) to meet the demand for digital cable even as the government has pushed back the deadline for digitisation in the four metros by four months.

This is in addition to the previously planned deployment of 2 million boxes. The leading multi-system-operator (MSO) is expecting a surge in demand in the four metros and, with the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting pushing the deadline to 1 November for the switchover to digital cable TV, it wants to be prepared.

Hathway said that over the next four months it will scale up availability of STBs and by infusing additional boxes in the market, it is poised to meet the fresh deadline as well as ensure a smoother transition from analogue to digital for consumers across the four mandated cities – New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.

“We anticipate that there will be a need of 3 million boxes in both Delhi and Mumbai (including multiple TV homes) and we want to have 50 per cent of these two markets. We have already seeded 1-1.1 million boxes in these two metros and are ready with adequate boxes,” Hathway Cable and Datacom MD and CEO K Jayaraman told

He added that the modified deadline has presented a unique opportunity to reach out to and impact a greater segment of the market. “Hathway plans to procure the additional 1 million STBs to gear up and leverage this opportunity. Therefore in total, we plan to deploy 3 million digital set top boxes across the two metro cities of Mumbai and Delhi. The rush for digital services will peak around the last fortnight of October and we do not want to disappoint the consumers and drive them towards the costlier option of DTH services,” he said in a statement.

Hathway gives a net customer subsidy of Rs 1000 on boxes and the subscriber acquisition cost comes to be around Rs 1,100, Jayaraman said. He added that in case the boxes didn’t get deployed, they can be used in the second phase of digitisation.

Talking about having an edge over DTH players, Jayaraman said that Hathway digital cable is at least 25 per cent cheaper than the traditional DTH players. Moreover, cable will have more bandwidth and, thus, can show 500 channels, while DTH players have limited transponders and bandwidth problem.

He said that momentum is high on digitisation and only in June over 200,000 boxes were shipped for Mumbai and Delhi.

Talking about HD service, he said that the HD offering is more popular in Mumbai and Bangalore and Hathway is seeding around 1000 HD boxes every month at present.

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