Chandra's ASC first to sign DTH agreement with the government

NEW DELHI: The Essel Group promoted ASC Enterprises Limited (ASCEL) has become the first company in India to finally receive and sign the licence agreement for the much talked about DTH (Direct To Home) service. ASCEL is launching DTH services in October 2003 as reported by indiantelevision last week.

ASCEL, promoted by Zee TV CMD Subhash Chandra, had sought a licence from the Indian government to operate a KU-band direct-to-home (DTH) television service in India.

"Test runs are already on. DTH is being rolled out by ASC Enterprises through own distribution network currently being set-up and also through franchisee route," said Essel group V-P Ashish Kaul.

ASCEL's DTH offering will be positioned as a premium form of addressability as compared to conditional access system (CAS) which would fall in the basic tier. The DTH service will be in the region of Rs 150 to Rs 500 depending on the package. An entry level set top box (STB) will cost anything between Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 on an average; and a high-end STB with features like PVR (personal video recorder), PSTN Connectivity, Video game console and many more of such features will be in the region of Rs 12,000.

One value add that the DTH package will offer is that channels that are not available in India will be part of the bouquet. Siticable, the distribution arm of Zee will provide infrastructure support for marketing DTH.

"DTH is a satellite transmission and does not discriminate between states / areas within its footprint. DTH will be available through our own distribution points and through franchisees," said Kaul.

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