Vedanta-owned Sterlite bags order to provide STBs to Arasu Cable

MUMBAI: Pune-based Sterlite Technologies has got the order for supplying two lakh set-top boxes to Tamil Nadu government-owned Arasu Cable TV Corporation Limited (ACTCL), according to a top executive.

Sterlite Technologies, a leading global provider of transmission solutions for the power and telecom industries, is part of the Vedanta Group which has interests in aluminium, copper, zinc, lead, silver, iron ore, oil and gas and power.

ACTCL had floated a global tender for the process of procuring STBs which also saw the participation of Wipro and Shaf Broadcast among others.

The multi-system operator (MSO), which is yet to receive a DAS licence, needs one million STBs for digitisation.

"Sterlite Technologies has got the contract for supplying two lakh boxes. We had advertised for one million boxes," ACTCL managing director D Vivekanandan confirmed to

Vivekanandan said that the decision whether to order more boxes from Sterlite or some other company would be taken depending upon the speed of supply.

The state-run Arasu is expecting to receive the DAS licence, for which it had applied on 5 July, soon. "It is only about time that we will get the licence. We hope to get it soon," Vivekanandan affirmed.

However, the I&B ministry is mulling whether state-owned cable networks should be given licence to operate.

Vivekanandan, though, has a different take on the matter. "As of now there is no rule to bar Arasu from having a licence," he said.

Arasu, which has a firm grip on cable distribution across Tamil Nadu, had extended its cable TV services to the metro on 20 October. ACTCL had said that it would offer 200 channels to the viewers in Chennai.

The cable TV corporation had also placed ads in in the run up to digitisation urging people to register for STBs through an advance payment of Rs 500 per STB.

"We have received advance payments for 30,000 boxes while LCOs have requested for about nine lakh boxes. The response has been good," Vivekanandan noted.

Earlier, Arasu Cable had floated a tender for providing digital head-ends, STBs, encryption solutions and subscriber management system (SMS) but cancelled it because it found the costs too high.

As per data provided by the Information and Broadcasting ministry, the digital cable penetration in Chennai with 0.7 million subscribes stands at 63 per cent.

The implementation of digitisation has been put on hold due to a stay order from Madras High Court on a petition filed by cable operators. The case is pending in the Court and will next come up for hearing on 28 December.

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