Cable and network: Broadbanding India


Convergence - much potential but miles to go before becoming a reality. That was the main thread of the session on Day 1 of Frames 2002 "Cable and Network: Broadbanding India."

UK-based digital addressable hardware manufacturer Pace strategic business development manager Kuldip Johal spoke about the various solutions that digital set top boxes could provide for applications like phon baneking, shopping, digital TV, Internet, E mail, gaming, security, information, pay TV, and telephony services

According to Johal, 10 per cent of the total revenue of all mobile phone service providers was through SMS messaging, and this was another application for which there was a bright future. He also spoke about Sky Television in UK where it was possible to watch interactive TV and even send emails at the same time. The viewer had a choice of 10 different news items simultaneously and could choose the one he wanted to view. Today the main deciding factors for middleware selection was based on services, content, speed to the market, and most importantly the cost factor, Johal said. Set top boxes offer an interactive gateway for voice video data right at home and networking the entire house is possible.

New emerging technologies will allow operators to provide convergence, the customer does not care about technology, what is important to him is more applications at a competitive cost, Johal said.

Motorola country manager AK Shekar spoke on the need for having a system where the customer could be online whenever he wants quite unlike the dial-up needed for ISP providers. The business model would be driven by subscriber growth and monthly subscription fees.

Shekar said bandwidth requirements had seen a growth of 185 per cent in the last three years, and would be seeing a 10-fold growth in the next three years.

Cable operators could today exploit this revenue model using analogue boxes which could offer a single interface which could offer Internet access on TV, program guides, digital music, video on demand, voice mail, telephone and a host of other applications.

Hathway Cable & Datacom vice-president Neeraj Bhatia spoke about the need for addressability. Today the customer had no choice but to accept the entire bouquet offered by all channels. What was needed was a conditional access (CA) box, he emphasised. There were no niche channels available, and the introduction of CA boxes would see a change in viewership patterns with no fall in advertising revenues.

A new set top box would provide greater credibility, pay revenues would increase, more transparency would be possible wherein the exact number of viewers and subscribers would be known. According to Bhatia, the boxes would be available to the consumer for Rs 3000 and the money for the boxes would come for the consumer through finance companies. This investment was a risk free investment and the box could be deactivated whenever the cable operator chose to, Bhatia said.

Indian Television.com CEO Anil Wanvari requested the industry and government to go easy on the convergence and broadband hype if they wanted convergence to become a reality. He envisoned a future wherein one pipe would provide for electricity, DBS, fixed and wireless telecom, Internet access, and cable TV services in homes. But that is more than 15-20 years away for India, he pointed out. "Most homes even in the US today are on dialup," he pointed out. "What broadband and convergence are we talking about? A broadband kind of service will be unaffordable for most of India. Even today Internet over cable - which can qualify for broadband - is expensive for an individual house at around Rs 900-odd a month. Only a select group can afford it. India has just 2 million Internet subscribers and 5 million users - 99 per cent are using dial up.".

He cautioned that industry and sundry have to be real about convergence and broadband in India. "Earlier, everyone rode the Internet hype, expecting it to drive convergence. Lots of bandwidth projects were proposed, crores in funds raised, but there is no broadband yet. With an obscene amount of bandwidth set to become available on 1 April through SingTel, another convergence hype wave is likely to start."

He suggested that government and industry should draw up a roadmap for convergence which is specific to India and not ape some western country. "A lot of India does not have power, how will it have broadband?" he queried. "It's quite likely that convergence and broadband will be a rich man's play," he pointed out.

He elaborated that government and industry should build a few successful test projects, especially referring to the success that was met with the Kheda project where television was used successfully to educate and inform a community in the early seventies. "Convergence and broadband can alleviate a lot of our nation's ailments- it can be used for education in remote villages, for telemedicine, for e-governance," he said. "Let's not focus only on entertainment."

Latest Reads

Govt extends support to M&E sector in fighting digital piracy

NEW DELHI: The government of India yesterday stressed that it stood alongside the media and entertainment (M&E) industry in fighting digital piracy to safeguard loss of revenue and ease norms for doing business, while CII entertainment committee head and Viacom18 group CEO Sudhanshu Vats.

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
M&E industry to hit Rs8 trillion revenue by 2022: report

According to a report published by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), India’s media and entertainment (M&E) industry is expected to reach revenue of Rs7.5-8 trillion by 2022 from an estimated Rs4.5 trillion in 2017. Over the next five years, the industry...

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
ATF’s first Animation Pitch announces winners

MUMBAI: As the Asia TV Forum (ATF) draws to a close today. The event saw several activities such as an exciting round of on-stage pitches where producers from all over Asia presented their ideas, the winners of the inaugural Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) Animation Pitch and the unveiling of the...

Specials Event Coverage ASIA TV FORUM
Indian OTTs to be in focus on day 2 of ATF

MUMBAI: Singapore-based Reed Exhibitions’ Asia TV Forum (ATF) will commence today with 60 countries taking part. The first day will see sessions based on content, advertising and the evolution of storytelling and digital traditions and innovation Ninety thought leaders will deliver fresh insights...

Specials Event Coverage ASIA TV FORUM
'It is criminal for TV not to think of social change' - PMC's Kriss Barker

For most programming executives and managements in TV companies today, television is all about running on a treadmill chasing ratings, viewership, and the concomitant revenues, followed by the next bonus and promotion. Every trick in the creative book and outside it is resorted to keep the...

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
ATF 2017 attracts Indian content studios, both big and small

MUMBAI: Singapore-based Reed Exhibitions’ Asia TV Forum (ATF) is round the corner and the buzz around the event only seems to be ramping up. This year, the forum will see around 60 countries from all over the globe. From 28 November to 1 December 2017, more than 90 thought leaders will deliver...

Specials Event Coverage ASIA TV FORUM
Singapore's ATF 2017 promises more than ever

Reed Exhibitions’ Asia Television Forum (ATF) is back. And Asia’s leading content market cum conference which brings together Asia’s broadcasters, digital platforms, distributors, studios, content creators to strike deals amongst each other and other international buyers and sellers from ---...

Specials Event Coverage ASIA TV FORUM
MIPCOM 2017 - Content Really is King!

Eye-opening, international, new content for multi-platform that fully embraced digital and VR were my key takeaways from MIPCOM 2017. The world may be going digital but content will always be king!

Specials Event Coverage Mipcom
Chhota Bheem becomes Mighty with Netflix

CANNES: The studio behind the popular animated show Chhota Bheem, Green Gold Animation has been commissioned by Netflix to make an exclusive 13-episode series on its trademark show. Paradoxically titled Mighty Little Bheem, the series is set to be released in August 2018. Each episode of Mighty...

Specials Event Coverage Mipcom

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories