VSNL to offer Indian TV channels OFC route to US

Updated: Jan 22 2002, 05:30am hrs
VSNL will offer broadcasters a fibre optic path for transmission of television channels from India to New York in the US, making this option available for the first time in the country. This will be drastically cheaper than the normal satellite mode.

The company will use the undersea cable medium to provide this service. “We are planning to launch within six months a service that will enable TV channels in India to transmit to New York through undersea cable. We are in the process of buying equipment for this purpose,” said KP Tiwari, director, operations, VSNL. Till now broadcasters from India have used the satellite mode to enter the US.

Broadcasters will have to pay Rs 12 lakh per channel per month for the transmission service. This will be far lower than the amount they would have paid for using transponder space. The distance for transmission via the satellite route would be much more than using the cable to send signals to a single point in the US.

VSNL will transmit the TV channels to New York, where broadcasters will have to make their own arrangements to distribute to other territories in the US, either through cable or direct-to-home. VSNL will be installing line terminal equipment at the two ends. “The transmission will be point-to-point, from India to New York. It will not be a multi-point transmission,” said Mr Tiwari.

VSNL is targeting channels who want to enter the US market. Several news, regional language, Hindi entertainment and music channels have plans to be present in the US, but are finding the satellite route expensive. Players like Sony, Zee and B4U are already in the US.

The state-owned company plans to bundle 20-30 channels into one pipe. The STM-1 link will be used to facilitate the service. VSNL has 2 STMs which can be utilised if needed. The company will use the ATM-based (asynchronous transfer mode) platform, Mr Tiwari said. “We can go at 155 mbps. Every channel needs 4-6 mbps. We will put between 20-30 channels into one pipe, which will be sent by undersea cable to New York,” he added.