Hinduja Group’s Headend-in-the-Sky (HITS) platform NXTDIGITAL and SITI Networks Limited, an Essel Group Company and one of India’s largest Multi-System Operators (MSO) with a connected customer base of over 8.5 million, have announced a first-ever Infrastructure sharing agreement in the MSO space in the country. The move, the first of its kind, will have two conventional competitors share Infrastructure, heralding a new era of collaboration in the digital platforms space.
The potential market for such PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) or infrastructure sharing services in India is estimated at over 60 million cable TV subscribers; connected to around 1,000 MSOs – largely independent or regional players, who often face such cost, connectivity and quality challenges.
Vynsley Fernandes, MD & CEO at NXTDIGITAL Ltd., which services over 5 million subscribers today, commented “With significant investments in technology, our HITS platform was designed to facilitate MSOs deliver digital content across India. We’re happy that SITI Networks, India’s biggest and most progressive MSO, has chosen to work with us, sharing our infrastructure to deliver their services in markets where conventional connectivity remains a challenge. Our HITS PaaS solution, in line with the Government’s support for our industry is the right step in this direction, helping MSOs save on connectivity costs whilst improving their quality of service; and we are sure this tie-up with SITI will be a landmark moment in the industry”.
This move is in line with SITI’s strategy of enhancing its operational efficiencies and providing high up-time and quality services to its customers across the country. Financially, this move will help SITI control its connectivity costs and deliver uninterrupted services to existing and new markets.
SITI will leverage the HITS infrastructure to deliver its signals to its Local Cable Operators (LCOs), thus providing its services to semi-urban and rural subscribers while also expanding its footprint across the country through satellite. For this integration, NXTDIGITAL’s PaaS vertical has worked with SITI Networks’ team to ensure testing and full compliance in using the already deployed technologies and systems of SITI, such as Subscriber Management, Conditional Access, and above all, using the existing Set-Top Boxes to provide services with the HITS platform wherever required.
Says Anil Malhotra, CEO of SITI Networks Ltd. “SITI has been focusing on enhancing its operational efficiencies. With the Government approving Infrastructure sharing in our domain, this tie-up with NXTDIGITAL is a natural progression and helps us overcome the difficulties of a terrestrial network in some markets through the Headend-In-The-Sky (HITS) approach. Operational efficiencies, along with uninterrupted services, will help improve our customer experience. Both SITI and NXTDIGITAL have integrated the HITS infrastructure with SITI’s existing Subscriber Management and Conditional Access systems while ensuring that the existing Capex is better sweated. Both teams have ensured all necessary testing and compliances. We do believe that evaluation of more such Infrastructure sharing options forms an integral part of the Government’s Digital India Strategy and would help in the spread of other services like Broadband to the last mile faster”.
NXT continues to drive the government’s mission and vision of a “digital India” by facilitating digital services in the most remote areas – with services extending to the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep Islands, the far north-eastern reaches of India, through to Kargil, Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir. Through the PaaS model, NXT expects to see MSOs faced with challenges of rising connectivity costs and quality – transition to a robust and independent sustainable model with better quality of service.