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Fastway Media Cable Network plans to invest Rs 100 cr; eyes 1 mn subs

MUMBAI: Regional multi-system operator (MSO) Fastway Transmissions has lined up expansion plans in certain parts of North India through its joint venture company.

FASTwayFastway Media Cable Network (FMCN), a 75:25 JV between Fastway Transmissions and Shailendra (Shally) Chopra, is planning to invest Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion) and is eyeing a subscriber base of one million in the current financial year.

Currently, FMCN, which has operations in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Rajasthan, has half a million subscribers. Most of the company’s subscribers are located in digital addressable system (DAS) Phase III areas.

Additionally, FMCN has 300,000 analogue subscribers in Phase IV.

The company entered Delhi by acquiring 51% stake in Novabase Digital, which has 30,000 subscribers in the city state.

The next stop for the company is Madhya Pradesh where it might go in for a JV to establish a presence in that market. The company is present in UP, Uttarakhand, and Rajasthan through JVs.

FMCN plans to invest Rs 100 crore through the promoters. Additionally, it will also look at vendor financing to fund the expansion.

peeush mahajan“We plan to touch a subscriber base of one million by December or January. Currently, we have five lakh digital subscribers primarily in DAS Phase III areas, plus an additional three lakh analogue subscriber base in DAS Phase IV areas. We will also enter Madhya Pradesh preferably through a JV,” Fastway Transmission CEO Peeush Mahajan told TelevisionPost.com.

Queried about the investment in the expansion, Mahajan said, “We plan to invest Rs 100 crore in the expansion to digitise our analogue base and add new subscribers. The funding will come from the promoters. We will also explore vendor financing. The funding will go into set-top boxes (STBs) and infrastructure.”

Currently, the MSO has a digital headend in Haryana. It plans to have a digital headend in each of the markets. After digitising its entire subscriber universe, the MSO will also look at broadband service.

FMCN recently received provisional pan-India registration from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. Mahajan said that the company applied for cross-country licence as it already had operations in five markets and was looking to expand into Madhya Pradesh.

Fastway Transmissions provides cable TV services in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

Since Fastway Transmissions is also eyeing expansion in North India, will it not result in a conflict with Fastway Media?

In response, Mahajan said that the two companies would not compete with each other. If one is present in a city, then the other will not enter that city. “We will have controlled expansion,” he averred.

Fastway Media leverages the strength of Fastway Tranmissions in negotiating content deals.