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Siti Cable to expand to Chhattisgarh with Indore as base

MUMBAI: Siti Cable Network Ltd is planning to expand its cable TV footprint to the state of Chhattisgarh and other parts of Central India from its base in Indore.

The multi-system operator (MSO) will invest Rs 50 crore (RS 500 million) and is looking to deploy 350,000 set-top boxes (STBs).

The cities identified are Raipur, Durg/Bhillai, Gwalior, Sagar, Mandla, Katni, Rewa, Balagath, Seoni, Dewas and Shehdol. They fall under Phase III of digital addressable system (DAS).

“We will be expanding into these cities within three months. We are planning to invest Rs 50 crore,” said Siti Cable Network operations head – Central Ravinder Singh Bhatia.

Siti Cable, which had retreated from the Madhya Pradesh market in 1999, set up a digital headend in Indore in January 2012, ahead of DAS implementation. In Madhya Pradesh, it currently has cable TV operations in Bhopal, Jabalpur, Ujjain, Betul and Chhindwara.

The headend at Indore will be used to service the new cities. “We will use our Indore headend to reach Raipur and the other cities,” said Bhatia.

Siti Cable tapped former Digicable national head operations – analogue Mahipal Singh Rawat to function as its chief operating officer. With Digicable facing funding issues, several of its local cable operators (LCOs) migrated to Siti Cable and Rawat helped the Essel Group-promoted MSO to become the No. 2 player in the Indore market.

According to market estimates, Siti Cable has seeded 82,000 STBs in the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh, behind Hathway Cable & Datacom’s 125,000.

While GTPL and UCN entered the Indore market through the acquisition route, Siti Cable decided to go on its own.

“We promoted digitisation and had STBs available with us. Our ‘Own Your Customer’ web-based subscriber management system application was liked by the LCOs and we could quickly move from scratch to being a No. 2 player in Indore,” explained Bhatia.

In the other two DAS cities in Madhya Pradesh, Siti Cable has seeded 60,000 STBs in Bhopal and 70,000 in Jabalpur.

Siti Cable will offer boxes at Rs 749 and Rs 999, depending on the scale of operations the LCO has.

“In Indore, the market has turned bad because of the intense competition among the MSOs. In these new cities, we plan to give the STBs at Rs 749 and Rs 999 to the LCOs, depending on what their subscriber base is,” Bhatia explained.

Also read:

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GTPL plans to invest Rs 4.5 bn in Phases III and IV of DAS