I&B ministry clears Chandra's bid for DTH licence

NEW DELHI: Time to pop the double bubbly at Essel/Zee, it seems. First HITS, now DTH!

It is learnt from government sources that the file relating to the DTH licence, sought by the Subhash Chandra-promoted ASC Enterprises, has been cleared by the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry paving the way for the work to begin on putting together a DTH platform.

Yesterday, the Indian government formally signed an agreement with the Chandra company for the teleport/uplink licence for the headend in the sky (HITS) project, being sought to be implemented by Zee Telefilms' cable arm Siti Cable.

Contacted by indiantelevision, a senior executive of the ASC Enterprises today confirmed that the government has issued them a letter for teleport/uplink from Noida, on the outskirts of New Delhi, from where various Zee family channels are uplinked through the facility of Essel
Shyam, a joint venture between the Essel group and Shyam Electronics.

Buoyed by various developments, Siti Cable, that would be implementing the HITS project in a post-conditional access regime, has already shot off letters to various broadcasters (like Star and Sony Entertainment TV) requesting to be supplied with a particular type of boxes that would be needed during the `turn around' of pay channels from the central uplink facility for the HITS venture.

According to company sources, Siti Cable is likely to maintain the subscriber management system and look after other aspects of HITS. The company is also looking at three to four vendors who can supply it with readymade conditional access boxes that would be needed by cable operators and viewers to access the pay channels.

A source close to the deal making said, "Since Siti cable is likely to place bulk orders for the boxes, the price that it is looking at for the digital boxes would be between $ 43-48.

Rupee dollar exchange rate $1 = Rs 47.50

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