India’s only Headend-in-the-Sky (HITS) platform NXTDIGITAL and SITI Networks Limited, a leading MSO have announced a first-ever infrastructure sharing agreement in the distribution space in the country.
Indian telecoms and broadcast distribution regulator TRAI had recommended distribution infrastructure several years back to make optimal use of limited resources and expenditure rationalization, which had few takers — till now.
The move will have two conventional competitors share infrastructure, heralding a new era of collaboration in the digital platforms space, according to an official statement put out yesterday by the two companies.
SITI will leverage the HITS infrastructure to provide higher uptime and quality of services to its semi-urban and rural customers while NXT will earn a service fee for sharing its pan-India satellite delivery infrastructure.
Market for such PaaS (platform-as-a-service) services is estimated at over 60 million customers, connected to around 1,000 MSOs, who face challenges on costs and connectivity and want to improve their quality of services, the statement added.
Vynsley Fernandes, MD & CEO at NXTDIGITAL Ltd., which services over 5 million subscribers, 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, the statement explained.
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 STBs to provide services with the HITS platform wherever required.
According to 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 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 systems while ensuring that the “existing capex is better sweated”.
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, the statement said.