IPTV: Almost there
Reliance, Bharti, BSNL, MTNL and HFCL Infotel are spending a lot of money to find the answer to a tricky question. What will make you buy television signals from their existing phone lines instead of your traditional cable or DTH (direct-to-home) operator? Sometime this July, MTNL will become the first to launch Internet protocol television (IPTV) service.
It will determine how the Rs 12,000-odd crore pay TV market will get split between cable, DTH and IPTV operators. Third, it will decide whether 900,000 km of wires*, laid across the country at an estimated cost of Rs 51,000 crore will fetch returns.Globally, there are very few markets like Hong Kong (PCCW, 500,000 subscribers) and Italy (FastWeb, 161,000 subscribers) where IPTV has any significant numbers.
DTH has already stolen some of IPTV’s thunder. Think about the IPTV differentiators — the ability to offer TV on demand, telephony and Internet. DTH already offers TV on demand and consumers have taken to it.
HFCL will offer a package deal at Rs 699 a month — an IPTV connection, 100 free calls and 500 MB of free data download at 512 kbps. MTNL, on the other hand, will offer two packages — a bundled service as well as a ‘pay as you use’ package.* This means more potholes in Pune :-|