DD shows may come on MTNL, BSNL broadband service

NEW DELHI: Prasar Bharati Corporation is attempting to keep up with the times and distribution of DD --- and maybe even All India Radio --- programmes via a broadband service is one such option on a barter basis where actual cash transactions are eliminated.

While DD programmes on the BSNL broadband network are likely to start off with 35 cities as BSNL has operations in more cities than MTNL, which runs telephony networks in Mumbai and Delhi.

The Corporation has joined hands with yet-to-be-fully corporatised telecom giants Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Ltd. (MTNL) which have a telecom network across the country and are laying fibre optics to delivery of other value added services apart from just telephony and Internet.

Since all the three concerned, Prasar Bharati, MTNL and BSNL, still function as quasi government organisations, the idea is to go in for a barter system where in exchange of content supplied by DD for the telecom companies' broadband and cable services, airtime will be given to the two organisations on various DD channels.

Reiterating that a memorandum of agreement had been signed by Prasar Bharati with BSNL and MTNL some time back, sources in both BSNL and MTNL indicated that initially DD programmes would be carried on the optic fibre cable network being laid by the two telecom giants.

Core groups have been formed in Prasar Bharati, MTNL and BSNL for this purpose and the groups will look into the aspect of having more synergies between the content providers and carriers.

Both MTNL and BSNL are looking at having other private satellite channels too to hop on to their OFC networks so that the bouquet is attractive enough not only for viewers, but also advertisers.

Though an OFC network will have a lot of bandwidth for carrying a huge amount of content, both data and otherwise, initially Prasar Bharati would like to have five channels on such a network. These channels are likely to be DD National, DD Metro, DD Sports, a regional channel depending on the area of the network, and, possibly, DD Bharti, the art,culture and kids' channel.

While MTNL is likely to start its broadband service early next year, BSNL will take a slightly longer time to commission its services.

Meanwhile, BSNL has invited EOIs (expressions of intent) from private companies to run its proposed cable TV services in 84 cities across the country, including Delhi's satellite towns of Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad. BSNL proposes to run these services on franchisee model for its 34 million wiring customers through its OFC network.

Earlier also, Prasar Bharati had been in talks with organisations like MTNL, BSNL and the Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd, India's international telecom carrier, for starting a KU-band direct-to-home (DTH) television service. These talks did not yield much result considering the amount of investment that would have been needed for a DTH service in India.

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