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Karnataka MSO Amogh Broadband plans expansion

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MUMBAI: Amogh Broadband Services, a multi-system operator (MSO) owned by Karnataka chief minister D Kumaraswamy's wife Anitha and a group of entrepreneurs, is on a major expansion spree.

The promoters have recently bought out the 26 per cent stake held by Pratap Wadhwa who heads Hinduja-owned Incablenet in Bangalore. Plans are now afoot to launch digital cable TV service in Bangalore by 15 October while expanding analogue business into the other bigger towns of Karnataka.

"Wadhwa has offloaded his stake in Amogh Broadband. We are investing heavily on expanding our cable network," says Amogh Broadband director M V Prasad Babu.

The set-top boxes (STBs) will be supplied by Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL) and is expected to be priced at Rs 2,200 (excluding taxes). The company is also in advanced negotiations with a vendor from Taiwan for the high-end STBs.

The conditional access system (CAS) platform is being provided by Norway's Conax. The subscriber management system (SMS) solutions will be from Hyderabad-based MagnaQuest. "We will have one digital headend in Bangalore," says Babu.

Amogh has a control room for analogue cable in Bangalore, Hasan and Mandya. "We offer 103 television channels on our analogue cable and are spread over three districts. We plan to have 150 channels on our digital system," Babu says.

The MSO has tied up with Railtel to spread its reach throughout the state. "In the first phase, we will expand our network in these three districts. Then we will look at the other regions of Karnataka," says Babu.

Amogh also plans to launch broadband services for its subscribers. "We had tied up with Spectranet and Dishnet and were offering broadband. But we have stopped this now and are planning to soon have our own broadband service through the ethernet. We will only be targeting retail customers," says Babu.

The promoters of Amogh are also launching a general entertainment and news channel, Kannada Kasturi, through a separate company, Kasturi Media Pvt Ltd.

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