Digitisation: Hathway Cable's capex need is Rs 4 bn in Q4

MUMBAI: Hathway Cable & Datacom‘s capital expenditure in the last quarter of this fiscal on account of Phase 2 digitisation will be in the region of Rs 4 billion, a top executive of the company said.

The multi-system operator (MSO) is anticipating a deployment of 2.6 million set-top boxes (STBs) in the quarter beginning January.

"The financing will be met by a mix of debt and vendor financing. We will be requiring a debt of Rs 3 billion," Hathway Cable and Datacom managing director and chief executive officer Jagdish Kumar told

With this fresh debt, Hathway Cable & Datacom‘s total debt would touch Rs 8 billion.
The company has seeded 2.1 million boxes in the first phase of digitisation. "We are looking at touching 2.2 million in the Phase 1 DAS (Digital Addressable System) cities," Kumar said.

Kumar feels that there will be no major decline in carriage fees. "In the first phase, we have seen around 10 per cent fall in carriage fees. We do not anticipate any impact on carriage fees as more channels have come under the ambit with the bandwidth expanding due to digitisation," Kumar said.

But when will the MSO start offering packages to the subscribers and start billing them in the DAS markets? "We expect the billing to be effective from the first quarter of next fiscal," said Kumar.

Hathway is considering broadband upgrade from DOCSIS 2.4 to 3.4. The MSO is doing pilots but no final decision has been taken yet.

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