New Delhi: The government policy on two key new generation technologies—Headend in the Sky, or HITS, and Internet Protocol Television, or IPTV—will likely be announced by the end of this month.
HITS enables digital transmission at a fraction of the investment currently made by cable operators. IPTV provides digital television signals on a broadband connection.
“We have completed all the processes. In the final stage, clarifications were sought by two ministries. Those have also been cleared and we have sent it to the cabinet. Unless there are some clarifications or objections at this stage, we hope the policy will be announced by the end of the month,” said Asha Swarup, secretary, ministry of information and broadcasting.
The consultation process on both the technologies were initiated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, or Trai, in 2007 and completed earlier this year. Trai’s recommendations covered issues including licensing, eligibility of service providers and foreign direct investment limits, which is 74% in the draft policy.
“Trai is pursuing complete digital transmission for the broadcast sector by 2010. Our recommendations on both these technologies reflect this broader objective,” said Trai chairman Nripendra Misra. “On both these policies, we have tried to maximize a facilitatory role and minimize regulatory intervention.”
A HITS operator downlinks signals of broadcasters to a centralized facility where they are decrypted and combined into a single signal. Thereafter, a common encryption is signed and the signal is uplinked to the operator’s satellite. That signal can then be accessed by multi-system operators and cable operators by using a transmodulator.
“Our calculations show that to set up a facility that can transmit 100 channels, a cable operator needs to spend only Rs1.2-1.5 lakh, whereas currently a similar facility needs an investment of Rs4-5 crore,” said Avnindra Mohan, executive vice-president, Essel Group. His group’s DTH operator Dish TV will be the first off the block in providing HITS services, which he said will be launched in a few days.
Typically, an IPTV service is bundled with broadband Internet access and is known as triple play. State-run telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) had already marketed triple-play services on a trial basis. Though the trials met with mixed response, the company hopes to roll out IPTV in a big way with better content, said Kuldeep Goyal, chairman and managing director, BSNL.
“Since the policy was not finalized, there was no clarity on IPTV services and that meant either channels did not give us content or they demanded a hefty price. Once the policy is finalized, we will roll out IPTV in a big way. In the first phase, we will provide the service in all the big cities and soon we will expand to smaller cities as well,” Goyal added.
Centre likely to finalize kharif MSP this week
New Delhi: The Union government is likely to announce the minimum support price (MSP) of kharif crops such as paddy, ‘arhar’ (pigeon pea) and soya bean this week, to enable farmers to decide in advance which crop to grow.
“The cabinet is likely to finalize the kharif MSP during this week,” a senior agriculture ministry official said. The decision will be based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and feedback from different states, he added. On the delay in announcement as monsoon is predicted to hit Kerala on 29 May, he said: “We have not received the feedback from some states as well as ministries like finance.” Last year, the kharif MSP was announced in the third week of May.
CACP has already submitted its recommendation to the government regarding the MSP for this year’s kharif crop. For paddy, which is the main kharif crop, CACP has suggested MSP of Rs1,000-1,050 a quintal.
During 2007-08 kharif, the MSP for Grade A and common varieties were fixed at Rs675 and Rs645 per quintal, respectively. Staff Writer
Publicis names Nakul Chopra South Asia chief
New Delhi:Nakul Chopra, chief operating officer of Publicis (India) Communications Pvt. Ltd, the Indian arm of French advertising and communications company Publicis Groupe, will take on additional responsibilities as chief of Publicis South Asia to oversee the network’s businesses in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
He has also been inducted into the global management board of the Publicis network. Staff Writer