Hathway to launch digital cable in Pune, Bangalore

MUMBAI: Hathway Cable & Datacom is scaling up its digital cable television services. The Rajan Raheja promoted multi system operator (MSO) is expanding its services to two new cities within a month, after rolling it out in Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi.


Hathway will launch digital cable TV in Pune on 20 May through an underground fibre linkup from Mumbai. The Motorola DWDM (Dense Wave Division Multiplexers) technology will enable digital television channels to be carried with Internet Protocol (IP) interface.



Digital cable TV will also be made available in Bangalore on 15 June. "We have the digital headends in place. For our expansion to other new cities, we only need to have the fibre links," says Hathway Cable & Datacom chief executive officer K Jayaraman.

Hathway plans to expand to Punjab, Hyderabad and Nashik in the second phase for which it will use the Motorola DWDM technology as the transport carrier solution. While the digital headend in Delhi will cater to the northern market expansion, the southern language states will be serviced from Bangalore and the western region from Mumbai. "We will be linking up through fibre from the centralised centres of Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore which will act as hubs," says Jayaraman.

The DWDM technology will also enable Hathway to carry data and voice, whenever it is ready to offer these services. "We clearly realise that digital is the way forward. We have already invested Rs 1 billion towards this and have the set-top boxes (STBs) with us. The expansion to the cities requires minor additional investments towards fibre links and transport equipment," says Jayaraman.

Although Hathway has been trying to actively push its digital STBs, the offtake has been agonisingly slow. But Jayaraman is hopeful that it would catch on. "After our digital launch in the two new cities, our target is to move 5,000 STBs a month. We are currently selling 1,000 boxes a month," he says.

Hathway offers 115 television channels for its digital subscribers who can buy the boxes outright at around Rs 4,000. Two installment schemes are also available (Rs 2,000 upfront with four equal payments of Rs 550, and an upfront of Rs 999 with 12 payments of Rs 275). "We will be upping our offering to 140 channels by 15 June. The monthly cable TV subscription fee is the same for both the analogue and digital services," says Jayaraman.

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