Cable TV

Siti, INCableNet pushing ahead on CAS

NEW DELHI / MUMBAI: Two leading multi-system operators of India, Siti Cable and the Hindujas-controlled INCableNet, are pushing ahead with conditional access (CA). While Siti Cable, part of Subhash Chandra's Essel Group, has signed up with Norwegian company Conax, INCablenet has mandated a foreign consultancy firm IBL to help put together a pay television platform in the run-up to CAS.

Since globally IBL works closely with a European company, Nagra Vision, for such activities, it is expected that the INCableNet contract will land in Nagra's lap.

Meanwhile, Norwegian company Conax AS, a leading supplier of conditional access (CA) technology for digital television, has won the contract for delivering CA services to the Essel Group, which through Siti Cable is aiming to roll out digital CA later this year in India as mandated by the government.

Siti Cable is the cable arm of another Chandra company Zee Telefilms Ltd, which is listed on the Indian stock exchanges.

While a Zee Telefilms source confirmed the news to, according to Conax, under the contract for which a memorandum of understanding has been signed recently, the Norwegian company will establish an Indian operation centre with conditional access experts, from where the CA platform for Essel will be operated.

"The Indian market is large and challenging, and by winning this deal with a leading and important player like Essel, we have clearly established Conax as a key CA supplier in this region. After the decision of the Indian parliament to make CAS mandatory, suppliers of conditional access have strengthened their focus on the Indian market, and in this tough competition it is great pleasure for Conax to enter into this partnership with Essel," Bent Brug?rd, chief executive of Conax says.

Brug?rd adds: "Conax's focus on the Indian market over the past years is now giving results, and the set-up of an operations centre will allow us to serve India and the Asian region with local technical support in an improved manner. Conax already has a sales office in India, and by scaling up our presence, we are well prepared to provide Essel with the needed CA services and local support."

However, both Conax and Zee were silent on the size of the contract.

INCableNet president Rajiv Vyas, meanwhile, would offer no comment when asked to respond to speculation in the market that the Hinduja group cable arm would most likely be opting for the Nagra STB. Vyas did admit though that IBL had been contracted to "assess the strengths and weaknesses of the different vendors as well as share its experiences in international markets."

Vyas further admitted that INCableNet had narrowed down its search to two companies but said a final call would be taken only after the pay channels had announced their pricing plans.

The Essel Group, meanwhile, which is slated to go digital this year and expand from 12 to more than 20 broadcast channels and also launch their 'Head-End in the Sky' (HITS) and digital-to-home (DTH) platform, has decided to use Conax's conditional access system (Conax CAS5) for their digital operations.

Conax is a leading supplier of conditional access technology for digital TV, IP streaming and security systems for interactive gaming and e-payment applications. Launched in 1986 as part of the R&D environment at Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor, Conax has developed into a globally oriented player with a solid base of international clients in around 25 countries.

Nagravision is one of the world's leading suppliers of integrated security solutions for digital television operators and content providers. These advanced solutions enable the deployment and operation of interactive applications on any digital platform. Nagravision, part of the Cheseaux-based Kudelski Group, also supplies security solutions for the distribution of digital content over broadband networks.

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