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Hinduja's NXT Digital enters Fastway-dominated Punjab

MUMBAI: It was announced with much fanfare, which simmered down. Now the Hinduja group promoted HITS platform NXT Digital has once again started making news. The group has stated that it is going to be pushing its headend in the sky (HITS) service in Punjab and Chandigarh.

NXT Digital allows local cable operators to upgrade to digital cable TV serices at a mimimal expense. Speaking to the media Hinduja Media Group CEO Ashok Mansukhani on Friday said: “We have the state-of-the-art technology for digital TV viewing and our network in Punjab would ensure the viewers get uninterrupted world-class viewing experience at economical price in the market.”

The entry of NXT Digital into Punjab will bring it head to head competition with Rs 500 crore turnover Fastway which has 2.45 million subscribers in Punjab, out of a national total of 4.2 million, of which 3.2 million are active. The other states in which Fastway has a presence is in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu&Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Haryana.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, Hinduja Media Group senior vice president Narinderpal Singh, claimed that NXT Digital has the active co-operation of the Congress state government which would welcome the existing and new cable operators to join them.

Fastway, on the other hand, allegedly was closely linked to the previous Punjab government under the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal.

But that monopoly has been getting marginally eroded.

Fastway MD Gurdeep Singh had acknowledged in an earlier media interview that the MSO has 5,290 cable operators (as compated to 6,500 cable operators from a total of 8,000 earlier) associated with it in Punjab and 159 in Chandigarh.

“Some of the earlier ones have merged with others or gone to another multi-system operator, Hinduja Cable, which is a new player in Punjab. Then, some cable operators are aligned with other groups such as Bhullar Cable in Amritsar,” he had said.

Will that marginal erosion becoming a landslide? For that, watch this space.

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