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Sun Cable hitchhikes on Hathway''s net infrastructurenews
Venkatachari Jagannathan
02 October 2000

With its full net-over-cable infrastructure yet to be put in place, Sun Cable Vision (SCV), the cable TV division of Sumangali Publications Ltd that owns the Sun TV regional channels, has decided to piggy back on the infrastructure laid out by Hathway Cable & Datacom. Hathway Cable rolled out its net-over-cable service in the city some time back and has laid more than 50 kms. of hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) cables.

Both, Mr. Kalanithi Maran, chairman and managing director, Sumangali Publications and Mr. E.V.S. Chakravarthy, vice president, Hathway Cable confirmed the new development, though no formal agreement is understood to have been signed between the two companies.

According to Mr. Chakravarty, the cost-revenue sharing between them and other things are yet to be worked out. "We are just extending our earlier agreements with SCV. While we get the TV signals from SCV, they in turn use our net infrastructure,". he added.

SCV, it is learnt, is using Hathway’s infrastructure just to test its service, systems and equipment and is expected to go the whole hog with investments once the tests results are proved to be satisfactory. The division has wired several houses in Chennai located in densely as well as sparsely populated areas.

It may be recalled, both players had earlier demarcated their area of operations for their cable TV distributions business. (see ).

SCV, after scrapping the MoU with Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) for the Internet venture, (see Sun TV-MTNL net over cable deal to be scrapped) has decided to go it alone now. For SCV a tie up with MTNL is not much of a benefit as the latter offers dial up Internet access.

It is learnt that SCV would take at least six months to roll out its full-fledged Internet services. The long delay is to make sure every system works properly, to deliver not only internet but also value added service like video on demand, video conferencing and voice over IP. Further SCV wants some time for its cable operators to upgrade their network.

According to a SCV affiliated cable operator, the additional investment needed per point or internet subscriber is around Rs.1,500 to upgrade the system and install two-way amplifiers. If necessary the operators have to lay new cable to deliver Internet on television as well on the computer.

Interestingly, unlike Hathway Cable, which invested its funds in laying new cables to deliver internet, it is SCV cable operators who have to fund the additional investment and act as a collection agent for internet subscriptions in exchange for a 10 per cent commission.

The other probable reason for SCV delaying its net services is that ensuing elections in the State. The division doesn''t want to risk additional investments (Rs 5 - 6 crore per city) without knowing the future political equations.

Be that as it may, as per the plans, SCV will be targeting households, software companies and small office and home office segments for business. In the second year of net operations, SCV will start selling set top boxes so that the web can be accessed through television.

also see : Hathways signs peace pact with Sumangali Cable Vision

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Sun Cable hitchhikes on Hathway''s net infrastructure