Arasu receives 5 bids for supply of STBs

MUMBAI: After extending the bid submission date for digital set-top boxes to 9 June, the Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation has received interest from five players.

Arasu, which obtained provisional licence from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) to operate as a multi-system operator (STB) in digital addressable system (DAS) areas, has received five bids to provide STBs.

The state-owned MSO will procure 70 lakh STBs. In May, it had issued a global tender for supply of STBs.

Arasu will scrutinise the bids and the prequalification documents. It will then decide on the qualified bidders. A date will be specified to the eligible bidders. After opening the price bids in the presence of the qualified bidders, the winner will be announced.

Arasu had earlier extended the bid submission deadline to 9 June after bidders had expressed several concerns about certain conditions in the tender. Prominent among them was the STB replacement warranty period of five years.

The ruling All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has promised to provide free STBs to consumers. This has made private MSOs jittery, who feel that they will also have to offer STBs free or see customers migrate to Arasu.

The MIB has given Arasu three months to digitise its analogue network. The MSO was granted provisional registration on 17 April. This means that the digitisation exercise will have to be completed by 17 July.

Arasu has been incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956 with an aim to provide high-quality cable signals to the public through local cable operators (LCOs) at an affordable cost. The current subscriber base of TACTV is around 70.52 lakh connected through 26,246 LCOs.

As per the unaudited results, Arasu’s net profit for fiscal 2016–17 stood at Rs 41 crore on a revenue of Rs 233.67 crore. The successful bidder should supply SD STBs, HD STBs, triple-play STBs and DOCSIS cable modem on rate contract basis for a period of one year as ordered by TACTV.

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