MTNL to enter into tie-ups for IPTV service

New Delhi, July 30 | Updated: Jul 31 2006, 06:00am hrs
The Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) will enter into commercial arrangements with broadcasters like STAR TV, Prasar Bharati, Zee TV, Sony Entertainment, among others, for its soon to be launched Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) services. Its IPTV service "Tri-Band" is currently undergoin trial runs in pockets of Delhi and Mumbai.

IPTV is television service delivered over Internet Protocol (IP) via broadband. IPTV also opens the door for `Triple Play'--a bundled offering of voice, video and data.

There is no regulation in place right now for IPTV services in the country. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has, however, floated a consultation paper and has proposed amendments to the Cable TV Act to govern it.

"The commercial launch of IPTV will be possible soon as regulations regarding content, programme code and other governing guidelines are getting in place," a senior Trai official told FE.

MTNL's commercial services will be launched in New Delhi and Mumbai, targeting 200,000 broadband subscribers. Apart from MTNL, mobile services company Bharti is also conducting trial runs in Gurgaon with test-signals from STAR Plus, ESPN and Zee TV, sources said.

According to STAR TV officials, IPTV will open a whole new revenue stream with a wide variety of offerings and value-added services for consumers. "We have given our signals to MTNL and Bharti for testing IPTV. In Chandigarh, we are even offering `Triple Play'," a STAR official told FE.

MTNL has entrusted the content delivery network responsibility to Time Broadband Services Ltd. Time broadband will look after the video equipment, middleware, billing systems, and content for MTNL. Bharti, on its part has tied up with UTStarcom for content delivery.