Sun TV - MTNL net over cable deal to be scrapped

The memorandum of understanding executed by Sun TV and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) to offer net over cable in Chennai, is likely to be scrapped. It is learnt that Sun TV is toying with the idea of going it alone, now that it holds a `C' category internet service provider licence.

A question mark had hung over the agreement for a long period, as the parties did not firm it up into a business deal within 90 days, as agreed at the time of signing the agreement.

Interestingly, the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) recently cleared Sun TV's proposal to attract foreign equity investment. The investment was sought to strengthen the company's cable infrastructure.

Further, a high level committee appointed by the Centre had recommended that MTNL should work together with Doordarshan for offering internet services.

Mr. Kalanithi Maran, chairman and managing director, the Sun TV network, including Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV), the cable arm, was non-committal. All he could say was "It is true that the 90 day period got over long ago. All that I can say now is that we are having an open mind on the issue. We're yet to decide whether to go alongwith MTNL or on our own".

He also refused to comment on whether SCV would partner Hathway Cable & Datacom Private Ltd, Mumbai, to offer the broadband services over cable, in the city of Chennai. It may be recalled SCV and Hathway Cable has signed a strategic non competitive business deal in the area of cable TV service in Chennai. (see Hathaway signs peace pact with Sumangali Cable Vision).

According to him, what is certain is the net over cable service will be available from July end onwards. SCV has put in place necessary infrastructure for the purpose. .