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Bharati Airtel to switch off IPTV service?

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MUMBAI: It persisted with its service for more than seven years. But now Bharati Airtel, which launched its IPTV offering in 2009, is reportedly shutting it down.

The company has been sending out notices to its less than 50,000 subscribers that it would be pulling the plug on it by 31 July first and now on31 August, according to news reports.

The service is available in Bengaluru and Delhi. In Delhi, it has been offering two packs, according to the Airtel website: SD 399 (Rs 399 for 196 SD channels, including 48 time shift channels), and HD599 (Rs 599 for 196 chax fonnels, 48 time shift channels and 12 HD channels). Bengaluru subscribers could avail of only the SD399 pack. A free wifi modem was thrown in when customers bought a set top bor Rs 3,500.

In both the cities, it appears to be making a sweet offering: IPTV, though running on top of the consumer?s broadband connection, would not consume bytes from his or her existing broadband plan. Additionally, the service allowed users could access seven days of recorded programmes.

Reports are that Airtel has written to its triple play customers saying that it would be offering an upgrade to its Airtel Digital TV DTH service at zero installation and activation cost (worth Rs 500), complementary HD USB set top box (Rs 1,300), 10 HD channel bouquet free for a month (Rs 111), free three months of recording (Rs 90), and a complimentary 8 GB pendrive (Rs 300).

Some irate Airtel customers have been clogging consumer complaints websites online expressing their unhappiness about the one-sided decision to shut down its IPTV service and pushing them to subscribe to Airtel Digital TV.

Airtel is switching ofF its IPTV service at a time when Reliance Jio is working on rolling out its own offering to customers. It imported a consignment of IPTV settop boxes a couple of months ago.

Attempts to contact Airtel officials were unsuccessful.

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