Television

Siti gets additional clearances for HITS plan

BANGALORE: Nagging doubts over Siti Cable's ambitious headend in the sky (HITS) project --- through which it is seeking to implement the conditional access in the four metros --- got cleared with the government giving some additional clearances that were necessary.

According to the Subhash Chandra-promoted Zee Telefilms' additional vice-chairman Jawahar Goel, "We have got permission from the Indian government to `turn around' pay and free to air channels from the country."

Pointing out that this fresh nod from the government is over and above the licence for uplink that was obtained by another Chandra company, ASC Enterprises, sometime back, Goel told indiantelevision.com that the permission is for turning around 46 FTA and 36 pay channels. The formal letter was received by SitiCable, the cable subsidiary of Zee Telefilms, earlier this week.

The fresh permission was necessary as some doubts were raised whether Siti could implement the HITS project as it would mean turning round or uplinking channels from India, news and otherwise, which may attract the provisions of other media guidelines set by the Indian government.

This was also one of the reasons that had been cited by other broadcsters like Star India for being non-comittal on a Zee-ASC Enterprises-promoted HITS platform.

Sometime back Star India CEO Peter Mukrjea had told indiantelevision.com that he cannot commit Star channels being part of Zee's HITS platform as there were some technical and legal issues involved regarding turning around of channels in an encrypted form from a central facility.

The HITS project involves downlinking satellite channels at a central facility and after their encryption are uplinked again to a satellite that can be accessed by cable operators and MSOs for further redistribution to their susbcribers.

The project's touted USP: that it will reduce the financial investment that will be needed to be made by cable ops to upgrade their headends to facilitate conditioanal access or addressability.

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