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Time Broadband to manufacture Amino IPTV boxes in India, plans to raise $70 million

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MUMBAI: Time Broadband Services Pvt. Ltd. (TBSPL) plans to raise $70 million for manufacture of IPTV set-top boxes (STBs) and expansion of its content delivery network (CDN).

The company has exclusively tied up with UK-based Amino Communications Ltd. to manufacture AmiNET125 H.264 AVC (MPEG-4, Part 10) compliant STBs in India. TBSPL will have the rights to sell these STBs in India, Middle East and parts of East Africa. The benefit of manufacturing these STBs in India will be to bring the cost below $100.

"This is a significant development for us as India is a potentially big market for IPTV. We have manufacturing arrangements also in China and Taiwan," says Amino Communications Ltd. vice president/general manager Roy Kirsopp.

TBSPL, which has already raised $10 million and got a further $5 million from Dimensions Group, will raise a further $35 million in its second round of funding. This will be towards expanding the CDN for IPTV.

"We are in talks for second round of investment and have got term sheets. We hope to tie up the funds by February-March," says TBSPL managing director and CEO Sujata Dev.

Another $35 million will be raised through sister company Broadband Tech Pvt. Ltd. for manufacture of STBs. The company is in talks with three consumer electronics companies for this. "We are negotiating with three state governments for getting subsidy. We are in talks with consumer electronics companies for the financing and manufacture of the STBs," says Dev. The company is looking at Kolkata, Chennai or another city to set up the manufacturing facility.

Amino has been paid an upfront amount of $1 million. "We have guaranteed Amino $10-12 million over 18 months. Dimensions Broadband UK has committed a $7 million exposure for this," says Dev. The contract involves a fixed license fee and a royalty to Amino on the STBs sold.

The AmiNET125 STB is designed on the DaVinci SoC chip from Texas Instruments and is integrated with Kasenna middleware and Verimatrix content protection.

"The deal will enable TBSPL to execute mass deployments of our "MY TIME" IPTV package. STBs play the most critical role in the IPTV business.

This relationship with a leading industry partner like Amino would further strengthen TBSPL in establishing the business matrix in the Indian market, capable of providing a total end-to-end CDN solution to telecom operator partners intending to launch IPTV," says Dev.

Adds Kirsopp: "We see opportunity in India, China and South America. This deal validates our licensing model where we tie up with local partners for local manufacturing."

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