Murdoch dips into fibre-optic network: Alliances on the card

Murdoch mania still is hot in town as speculation about what he really intends to do in the Indian market rising to a fever pitch. He had a rash of meetings on 14 March with top brass industrialists and other prominent political personalities.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and he discussed the possibilities of investment in the Infotech and telecom area. Ministerial sources disclosed his intentions to set up a state-of-the-art fibre optic telecom carrier network in Mumbai. A possible partner for this project is InCable which has been laying a fibre optic network in the city. Star TV does not have any investments in cable TV distribution, having sold out its holdings in Siticable to Zee TV. The fibre optic project will l cater to Murdoch's Infotech dreams in India and facilitate e-commerce and e-education and create tremendous job opportunities, ministerial sources said.

Murdoch also met up with MTNL and VSNL executives at the Ministerial meeting. MTNL, the state telecom provider MTNL which has a strong optic-fibre backbone and Hughes Ispat which also is rolling out its network over the city.

The Chief Minister, wanting investments in the state, also assured Murdoch that News Corp's proposal to set up an entertainment programming studio will be cleared within a month's time. News Corp plans to invest around $100 million in this area alone. The commercial capital of India seems to have impressed Murdoch as he identified the tremendous potential in this city.

It is now the time of Delhi for big announcements where Murdoch will hold high-profile meetings.

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