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MTNL, Reliance make their case for broadband at seminar

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MUMBAI: While the issue of addressability is still to be sorted out in the country one delivery method that has promise is broadband. At this afternoon's seminar on broadcasting and distribution of television channels Reliance and MTNL both laid out the case for broadband.

Reliance Infocomm's Colonel Vinod Khare said that the company's aim was to provide entertainment over internet protocol (IP). "Our set top box will be intreactive. Since packet technology will be used there is no chance of signals getting stolen or data getting lost. We will have broadcast content, 24 hour internet, interactivity as well as time shifted television. You will be able to freeze live television. The broadcasters will have transparency as each box will have a number. We will set up customer carecentres where your call will be answered within five rings."

MTNL GM J. Gopal said that the company was planning to

launch wi fi services soon. ADSL is the technology being used for its broadband project. It has set up customer premises equipment. The copper wire into the home can carry high speed data along with low speed voice. 1000 ADSL lines have been installed. Some customers have been able to download several gigabytes of data in one month as a result Gopal claimed. In the future MTNL is examining the possibility of tying up with cable television operators.

"We have received proposals from four cable operators. A total investment of Rs. 2 billion is needed. We will provide 100,000 ADSL lines. Our other planned initiatives include video on demand and gaming. For cable TV one concept that we would look at is letting the consumer have the option of viewing content with or without ads. Of course if there are no ads the price will be higher."

On a different note DD's Mukesh Sharma stressed the importance of a strong pubcaster. " A strong public broadcaster can fulfill the needs of the citizens. We provide information and a common national outlook through shared experiences. that was the case with Mhabharaata and Ramayana before the influx of foreign channels. The danger is that if television channels do not talk about our culture, value systems we could lose our identity. At the same time it is important that our culture not lose appeal. We need solid reliable funding and at the moment it is not quite clear as to where that is supposed to come from. That is why the quality of our shows is being affected."

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