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MCOF-MicroScan broadband package for Maharashtra LMOs

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MUMBAI: We have often heard broadband delivered over cable TV is pure moolah. Now, last mile operators (LMOs) in the western state will also be able to pocket some of that courtesy the Maharashtra Cable Operator Federation (MCOF) and Mumbai-based MircoScan Computers which signed a proposal on 17 December to promote a special purpose vehicle (SPV) under the name SCOPE.



“This is a joint venture with Microscan which will help provide high speed broadband service to all LMOs,” says MCOF president Arvind Prabhoo. Microscan is an ISP and fibre infrastructure provider to telcos in Mumbai and Pune.



“Broadband until now wasn’t well structured in the LMO universe,” points out Prabhoo, who had earlier, in September during the India Digital Operators Summit 2013 (IDOS) organised by Indiantelevision.com in Goa mentioned about the huge pipeline lying with the LMOs which was being unutilised. “We needed an internet service provider to partner with us to provide high speed internet to serve consumers in a better way,” he reveals.

  

Microscan provides fiber to the homes under an arrangement with Sterlite Technologies and MCOF has pooled in LMO fibre rings for optimising mutual resources. “SCOPE will offer true high speed broadband services under BOLT, the trade mark announced by it a few weeks ago,” says Prabhoo. 



The deal was signed between Prabhoo and Microscan managing director Sandeep Donde on Tuesday. “This is set to alter the broadband service space in a major way,” adds Prabhoo.



Microscan, which was established in 1996, by engineer turned entrepreneur Donde has more than 450 km of underground fibre. “The partnership will help us provide standardised broadband services to the existing 1500 MCOF members and also those who join later,” he informs.



Microscan will provide an internet speed ranging between 2 mbps-50 mbps to the end user with a compression ratio of 1:1 or 1:8 as per their choice. “We have our own infrastructure across Maharashtra. This is a strategic partnership with MCOF, through which we will provide internet connection to all its members,” says Donde.



According to Prabhoo, it is the broadband service that will give a push to the ARPUs for cable TV operators. “Broadband will help LMOs monetise customers.”



Donde assures that the internet speed available will be standardised and at a lower price. “The rates could vary from Rs 300 to Rs 2,000 to the end customer,” informs Donde.



Says Prabhoo, “Though the service tariff is low in comparison to other players providing the service, the LMOs will make more money than in any other arrangement they would have entered into.” 



Not disclosing the revenue share model, Donde says, “We are still working on it.”



The LMOs through Microscan can enjoy services like, ‘thin client internet connections’, ‘local area cloud’ and ‘content anywhere.’ “We will also be providing value added services like video-on-demand,” informs Donde. 



Microscan, which has MSO DigiCable as one of its clients, incidentally holds a DAS license in 38 cities and an IPTV license for Mumbai. 



“What we are offering is certainly a treat for cable TV subscribers and which may be a threat for legacy players,” concludes Prabhoo.

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