US technology major Cisco is in talks with Indian cable TV operators to help them offer broadband services by upgrading their existing networks.
Cisco is offering a technology that will enable cable TV players to start offering two-way communications required for Internet services. In addition, the company has roped in its venture capital fund unit Cisco Capital to finance the technology upgrade.
Sanjay Rohatgi, Managing Director, Service Provider, Cisco India and SAARC, said, “Most of the multiple-system operators (MSOs), who we are talking to, have plans to drive the cable broadband scenario. Our country is starved of bandwidth and as we move into the regional areas, cable broadband and the 4G technology will be a perfect complement to each other.”
Globally, cable TV operators provide bundled cable, broadband and phone services. In markets such as North America and European countries, broadband penetration is largely driven through biggies in the cable space like Liberty Inc among others. But in India so far only a few players like Hathway have ventured into this space.
There are several State-level cable operators who reach to millions of users. These cables can be used for broadband services but the problem is that existing technology on these networks allow only one-way transmission required for broadcasting TV channels. “In order to offer broadband, you have to do a two-way path for uploading and downloading. The good news is that we are working on a technology called Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS 3.0), which will leverage the fibre footprint,” said Rohatgi.
DOCSIS is an international telecommunications standard that permits the addition of high-speed data transfer to an existing cable TV system.
The recent move to digitise cable TV is also helping MSOs to move into the broadband space. Digitisation uses compression technology thus creating more space for television channels, value-added services and broadband. Cisco has been one of the major players in the digitisation drive. There are 30 million homes with a Cisco set top box. Here too the company is using Cisco Capital where MSOs are allowed to lease set top boxes on a dollar-per-subscriber-per month model.