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January 2018


CONVERGENCE NEWS

 

US REJECTS NET NEUTRALITY

US regulator - FCC has voted on 14 Dec, to cancel its net neutrality rules, which prohibit internet service providers from blocking or charging websites for higher quality delivery to consumers. This reverses the Obama stance that broadband should be regulated like a utility. The three Republican commissioners, including Pai, voted for the proposal, outnumbering the two Democratic commissioners.

Ajit Pai the FCC chairman called net neutrality complaints 'hysteria' and 'hot air', making him the target of many angry protests.

The FCC has already opened the door for more media mergers, scrapped a high-speed internet program for low-income families and allowed broadband providers to raise rates to business customers.


GOOGLE WIRELESS TECH FOR AP NET

The Andhra Pradesh State Fibernet Limited (APSFL) and X Development Centre LLC, formerly known as Google X, have entered into a MoU at California. The MoU was signed in the presence of IT and Panchayat Raj Minister Nara Lokesh at California in the United States.

The Andhra Pradesh government is buying Google's new technology using light beams to transmit data at up to 20 gigabits per second between the rooftop boxes. Since beams of light and not RF is used, no license will be necessary.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the agreement, which begins next year, would see 2,000 boxes installed as far as 20 kilometers apart on posts and roofs to bring a fast internet connection to populated areas. The idea is to create a new backbone to supply service to cellphone towers and Wi-Fi hotspots, endpoints that users would then access.

The agreement is an outgrowth of X's Project Loon, which beams cellphone service to Earth from a network of large balloons. The balloons link directly to smartphones in rural areas with a low population density.

Andhra Pradesh had nearly 15 million high-speed internet subscribers (TRAI - Dec 2016) & wants to connect an additional 12 million households by 2019, Alphabet said.


DISCOVERY: 4 OTT CHANNELS

Discovery Communications India (DCIN) plans to launch 4 OTT (mobile-TV) channels in February 2018. They will contain ads.

These will target military, girlist, automotive and food.

The first 2 will be followed by the automotive & food-focussed channels later in the year.

the channels will provide specially created video for OTT, which has short content capsules of 10 minutes duration.

DCIN has partnered YouTube, Reliance Jio, and Vodafone Play to for channel carriage.

Karan Bajaj, senior VP and GM, Discovery Communications India, said, "Advertisers will now have the option to reach out to premium consumers across our linear network and presence across the most popular social and mobile platforms."



AMBANI COMPANIES TO SHARE USER DATA

Viacom18, the 50-50 broadcast venture between Reliance owned Network18 and Viacom Inc, has identified 3 areas of synergy with Reliance Jio - big data, content and technology.

Viacom18 Group Chief Executive Officer Sudhanshu Vats told the press, "As we go forward with (OTT platform) Voot, the big data available with us and the huge amount of data available with Jio about its consumers can be synergised, so that we can use it to curate and create relevant and better content for customers."

Jio has close to 150 million customers who consume over 1.5 billion GB of data every month. 70% of that is consumed to see videos on mobiles.

Voot has 30 million active customers and has an average viewership of 50 minutes every day. It is the data about the consumer's preferences - what programmes they want to see, which genre is popular, and the pattern of viewing, among others - that can help Viacom18 to sharpen its content strategy.

Promising more, Vats said "As we go forward, we will be able to do things in conjunction with Jio by using technology like virtual reality, 4K and also live streaming of such events."


ACT OFFERS OTT & 1 GBPS B'BAND

ACT has partnered with Hooq TV & YuppTV to launch entertainment broadband plans in Bengaluru.

Subscribers receive a large selection of Hollywood English, Hindi, and regional cinema, exclusive TV shows and live TV channels with at 75 Mbps speed and 160 GB FUP limit at a monthly rental cost of ₹ 1149 only.

ACT Fibernet also offers 1 Gbps (1000 Mbps) wired broadband plans in Hyderabad & Bengaluru.

ACT GIGA offers 1 Gbps speed with 1250 GB FUP upload & download for ₹ 5999 per month.


APPLE TO BUY SHAZAM

Apple is buying Shazam - the popular music-recognition app, for around $401 million.

Shazam crossed 1 billion downloads in September 2016.

After the acquisition, Shazam will be blended with Apple, similar to Apple's voice recognition app, Siri.

Shazam Entertainment was founded in 1999 by Chris Barton, Philip Inghelbrecht, Avery Wang, and Dhiraj Mukherjee.


SAT FOR BHARAT NET

The government has made a provision for using satellite services to provide broadband connections under the second phase of the Bharat Net project, Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha told the press, at an event organised by the Broadband India Forum.

"While optical fibre and mobile broadband are the preferred technologies for the backbone of broadband penetration, it is also clear that unlike in the case of mobile, 100% broadband penetration would not be possible unless we use other technologies like wi-fi, cable broadband and Satcom in particular," Sinha explained.

Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said that several satellite companies have expressed interest to provide services in India, specially to consumers during air travel. Some companies have also expressed interest to manufacture their satcom products in the country.


TRAI BROADBAND REPORT

The broadband subscriber base in the country increased to 34 crores at the end of October from 32.48 crore in September with a monthly growth rate of 4.7%.

Mobile broadband connection led the segment with 32.17 crore subscribing to highspeed Internet connection on their cellular devices.

"Top five service providers constituted 92.17% market share of the total broadband subscribers at the end of October 2017. These service providers were Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (14.59 crore), Bharti Airtel (6.69 crore), Vodafone (4.84 crore), Idea Cellular (3.1 crore) and BSNL (2.12 crore)," the report said n