October 18, 2006

MTNL Launches IPTV in Delhi

After Mumbai, it's now Delhi's turn for Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) along with Aksh Optifibre to announce the launch of its IPTV service.

MTNL will offer this service to all its broadband subscribers in Delhi, using its existing broadband network. Through this service, traditional television broadcast, time-shifted TV, video and music on demand, and video calling on TV facilities will be provided to consumers.

The software, hardware, and content delivery for the IPTV service will be managed by Aksh Optifibre. Besides, the registrations for the IPTV service in Delhi will open October 25, 2006 onwards, and commercial operations will begin from November 1 this year.

Speaking at the occasion, R S P Sinha, chief managing director, MTNL, said, "Consumers expect services that are both innovative and affordable from MTNL. We take the lead, yet again, in ushering in a true revolution in home entertainment with the country's first IPTV service."

"The possibilities with IPTV are endless. Video-on-Demand, Audio-on-Demand, Game-on-Demand, Video-Calling, Tele-medicine, e-distance learning, virtual classrooms are some of the innovative applications of IPTV. Our existing presence in over 3.8 million homes in New Delhi and Mumbai through our landline phones will give MTNL a tremendous head start in changing the way people watch television," Sinha said.

The IPTV service will be priced aggressively, and will have tariff comparable with DTH or cable TV. The registration charges for the service will be Rs 500. The minimum fee for basic service of free-to-air channels will be Rs 125 per month that will be charged on a quarterly basis. And upon a monthly payment of Rs 250, consumers will be able to see about 30 paid channels and all free-to-air channels.

Moreover, the system is also CAS-ready (no separate set top box required), and the resultant fee rationalization for pay channels will automatically be adjusted in the monthly charges.

The deposit for the IPTV set top box is also being charged quite innovatively. The one-time deposit will be converted into an interest bearing fixed deposit for a 5-year term in favor of the consumer. The entire amount (with interest) will be paid back to the consumer upon maturity or elective termination of service and return of the set top box, whichever occurs earlier.

Kailash Choudhari, managing director, Aksh Optifibre, said, "With the launch of our IPTV service today, Aksh Optifibre has emerged as the only Indian company that finds itself fully integrated from a leadership position in the manufacturing of optical fiber, to hardware and software management and content and service delivery. The company will be uniquely advantaged as a solution provider for a service that can potentially reach over 40 million consumers nation-wide."

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