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A Headend in the Sky policy soon
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New Delhi, June 19 The pending Headend in the Sky (HITS) policy will be considered by the Cabinet soon, according to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The digital platform allows a service provider to transmit television signals through satellite, differing from Direct To Home in the last mile, where signals are transmitted through cable. The system will allow a HITS operator — unrestricted by the kind of network an MSO requires — a national foothold, and offer the consumer digital quality content and addressable features. Currently there are only two licence holders who haven’t rolled out commercial services yet. The Essel Group’s Wire and Wireless Ltd has been running trials for many months now.

According to Mr A. Mohan, Executive Vice-President, Essel Group, pricing-related issues between broadcasters and them need to be addressed. WWIL has approached the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, which also regulates broadcasting, on the matter. While DTH gets content at half the cost of what cable operators pay broadcasters, a HITS operator (unlike a DTH operator) will share revenues with the last mile cable operator. While TRAI is to review content pricing issues in DTH’s case, WWIL is hoping pricing for HITS services will also be taken up.

A digital headend costs Rs 10-15 crore, under HITS it would only cost Rs 1.6 -2 lakh for a 100 channel, according to Mr Mohan.

The Ministry, which received several recommendations from TRAI, is also looking at introducing the third phase of FM radio soon, though the legal standoff between the radio operators and the music industry is delaying the roll-out, according to a Ministry official.

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