First consignment of SitiCable STBs has landed

NEW DELHI: The multi-system operators are serious on implementation of conditional access system (CAS). The first consignment of set-top boxes (STBs) ordered by the Subhash Chandra-promoted Zee Telefilms' cable arm SitiCable has landed in India ready to be seeded in the market.

When contacted by today, SitiCable executive vice-president Rajiv Khattar confirmed the development and said, "The first lot of boxes have arrived in our warehouse in India from Korea after being airlifted."

Khattar, however, did not divulge the size of the consignment that has arrived, saying it would alert competition. Zee Telefilms additional vice chairman Jawahar Goel had told some time back that over a period of six months from the date of CAS implementation, the company is looking at importing approximately 2 million boxes. STBs would be needed to access pay channels in a post-CAS regime as mandated by the Indian government.

In the four metros of Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai, where CAS is being sought to be implemented in the first phase from 14 July, the cable and satellite homes range between 6.2 to 6.5 million, with Mumbai having the highest number of C&S homes amongst the four cities.

With the first lot of boxes at its warehouse, SitiCable now is awaiting a green signal from the government on pricing. The boxes would also be tested by Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd (Becil) for technical specifications before being put out in the market for consumers. Becil is a government of India undertaking.

According to Industry sources, 250,000 boxes have already arrived in Chennai while in Mumbai 211,000 have landed.

Company sources also indicated that Siti Cable, which is responsible for the headend in the sky project through which CAS is being sought to be implemented, is aggressively marketing the HITS project, called Galaxzee, amongst cable operators.

Under Galaxzee, partner-cable operators have been offered up to 40 per cent of the distribution margin. .

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