Heavy rain & floods in Kerala have destroyed networks there. Reconstruction will be time-consuming and expensive. SCaT has contributed to the Kerala Cable Operators Association's fund to help cable operators re-establish their livelihood. We implore all industry players & cable operators to contribute their might, also. By the time you read this, broadcasters will have declared their pay channel rates to consumers.............
TATA SKY OFFERS BROADBAND
DTH without a broadband connection is severely crippled. Without a return path, live interactivity is not possible. Also, lucrative services like Netflix cannot be provided independently by the DTH platform.
Tata Teleservices has sold most of its business to Bharti Airtel, but has retained and transferred its landline & broadband business to TataSky.
In August 2018, Tata Sky announced launch of its own, branded broadband service in 12 cities.
Mumbai, Thane, Delhi, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Noida, Pune, Bhopal, Chennai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, and Mira Bhayandar will be the first to get the service. Five packages have been announced with durations of 1, 3, 5 9 & 12 months. Data speeds vary from 5 Mbps, to 100Mbps. There is an installation charge of ₹ 1200 for the cheaper plans.
Plans are exorbitantly priced, ranging from ₹ 999 per month for 5 Mbps unlimited, to ₹ 2,500 Mbps per month for 100 Mbps.
Post JIO's commercial launch, TataSky will have to dramatically drop prices to remain competitive.
FASTWAY LAUNCHES FTTH BROADBAND
Fastway's ISP wing - Netplus Broadband has launched a Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) service in Delhi & 9 cities in Himachal Pradesh.
With this expansion, Netplus now provides broadband services across 100 cities in North India.
"We have already invested ₹ 150 crore in broadband and planning to invest ₹ 250 crore more over the next 1.5 years till December 2020," Fastway Transmission CEO Peeush Mahajan told the press. Fastway has abandoned DOCSIS and shifted to GPON.
Netplus' monthly unlimited data plans are priced at ₹ 699 with (50 Mbps), ₹ 849 (75 Mbps), ₹ 999 (100 Mbps), ₹ 1599 (200 Mbps), and ₹ 2499 (500 Mbps). Further, customers who pay for 5 months in advance, receive 1 month free.
DISH TV VIA ALEXA
DishTV consumers can now talk to Amazon Alexa to find and recommend programmes, movies, sports and music using voice commands.
Once enabled, the skill would allow users to interact with DishTV through voice commands on all Alexa-enabled devices such as Amazon Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Spot and Echo Dot. The features can also be accessed with the Alexa app available on iOS and Android.
"DishTV becomes the first DTH company in India to power voice-assisted content discovery and recommendations," said Anil Dua, Group Chief Executive Officer, Dish TV India Limited. "We will be adding more features to the skill such as personalising search, filtering recommendations, recharging DTH account, subscribing to new channels and scheduling a recording," Dua added.
The integration of DishTV and Alexa would also help users to check and manage their current balance, switchoff date, monthly recharge amount, pay-later service and raise a call-me request, just by asking Alexa.
FAKE NEWS MONITORING
The Election Commission of India is setting up a panel to analyse the relationship between news and social media platforms. the panel will examine the role of social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube and recommend ways to deal with violations & possible penalties.
In 2018 alone, there have been at least 24 people killed in the name of public justice where the accusations have been based on fake news of child kidnapping and cow smuggling.
Fake news is not an 'India' problem but a global phenomenon. Germany has already passed a legislation that requires social media networks to remove hate speech from their platforms. Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines are also mulling options to counter fake news.
PEN PLANS 'PLAY MY MOVIE'
Jayantilal Gada's Pen India launched its TV channel - "Wow Movies and Music" on 18 July 2018.
Pen India now plans to enter the OTT space within 6 months, with the launch of its Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) service Play My Movie (PMM).
PMM will offer Hindi & regional movies in Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Bengali, & Bhojpuri, as well as dubbed international movies.
PMM has a library of over 1,000 movies which will be available via mobile (IOS and Android) and web platforms, with an option to download to the mobile application.
Pen India non-executive Director Akshay Gada added "Few films will be free to watch whereas others will be available via subscription and pay-per-view basis at very affordable rates, making the platform easily accessible to the mass market."
Recently, Pen India also launched its Bollywood Times (BT) service, available as a mobile app, website and on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It offers movie reviews, celebrity interviews, latest trends, top news, trivia, new releases, & more on films. it also includes a live feed of the music & youth channel Mastiii.
95 'NET SHUTDOWNS IN 7 MONTHS, SAYS SFLC DATA
This year alone, India has seen 95 internet shutdowns compared to 79 such cases in entire 2017, according to data compiled by SFLC, a legal services organisation.
The problem of shutdowns exists across many states but Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan lead the pack. J&K has already witnessed 36 internet shutdowns, while Rajasthan has had 26. Uttar Pradesh has had 7 instances this year from just two in 2017. Five instances of internet shutdowns have been reported from Maharashtra this year.
Aggregated data shows that there have been 233 reported instances of suspension of internet services in India in the last 7 years. However, 73% of these shutdowns have occurred in the past 18 months.
Shutdown of the internet grinds to a halt the digital economy. ATMs and credit card transactions stop entirely, making the public loose confidence in these systems.
AIRTEL'S FIBRE CO
Bharti Airtel is forming a new independent fibre company and has appointed Abhay Savargaonkar as the new unit's chief executive officer.
Airtel could replicate its approach to Indian tower operations and dilute stakes to create an independent fibre company that leases out key infrastructure to potential mobile phone operator clients, analysts said.
Bharti Airtel is in the last stages of transferring its optical fibre cable network to a wholly-owned subsidiary, Telesonic Networks Ltd, by way of a slump sale. The company runs 246,000 route kilometres of optic fibre, which it is expanding aggressively to cater to surging data growth. "Fibre assets from Telesonic may eventually be transferred to this new subsidiary," said a source.
ISRO'S EXHORBITANT MONOPOLY
"The capital cost of satellite is very little. But the recurring cost is prohibitive. We provide satellite connectivity on a very small bandwidth to Andaman and Nicobar and it costs us something like ₹ 300 crore for that small population to be able to pay for bandwidth. It is typically because of the monopoly of ISRO. In India, satellite communication is 300 times more expensive than in the US. So, satellite is prohibitive. We are going for it only in areas where it is not technically feasible to do any other thing,"DoT special secretary N Sivasailam secretary stated.
"We want higher bandwidth for which the USOF and the Bharatnet can make the payment. But the bandwidth is not available. They are going to put two satellites in the orbit this year. With that more bandwidth would be available. But right now, there is a crunch of bandwidth with ISRO," he added.
OTT TO BE REGULATED?
"The Ministry of I&B had constituted a committee on 4 April 2018 for framing regulations for online media/ news portals and online content, including digital broadcasting, which encompasses entertainment/ infotainment and news/media aggregators," MIB Minister Rathore has informed Parliament.
"However, the government had constituted an interministerial committee on 'Investment in Critical National Infrastructure, Digital Broadcasting and related issues,' which in its first meeting held on 10 May 2018 observed that some of the Terms of References (ToRs) and issues of the 2 committees are common. A decision was taken to dovetail the ToR of the committee constituted by this Ministry with that of the committee on 'Investment in Critical National Infrastructure, Digital Broadcasting and related issues." Rathore added.
RELIANCE BUYS 5% OF EROS
Film and entertainment company Eros International plc announced on Monday that following customary approval processes, the sale of a 5% stake in Eros to Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), previously announced on February 20, 2018, has been completed.
Reliance has acquired 3,111,088 new, ordinary shares of Eros @ $15 per share, i.e. a total cash consideration of $46.6 million.
RIL and Eros International Media (Eros India) have agreed to equally invest up to ₹ 1,000 crore ($150 million) to produce and acquire Indian films and digital originals across all languages.
AIRTEL'S NEW SUBMARINE CABLE
In March, Airtel through its deal with Gulf Bridge International acquired the ownership of the India leg of GBI's India-Middle East-Europe submarine cable.
In early August 2018, Bharti Airtel & Telecom Egypt announced a strategic partnership. "Airtel will get IRUs (Indefeasible Right of Use) on Middle East North Africa Submarine Cable (MENA Cable) and TE North Cable Systems," a joint statement from both companies said. The submarine cable networks stretch from Cyprus to France via Egypt.
Airtel said that the partnership will enable it to diversify its global network to serve the massive growth in demand for data services, particularly in emerging markets across South Asia, Africa and Middle East.
TRAI has launched its Do not Disturb (DND) 2.0 and MyCall apps with the Unified Mobile Application for New-Age Governance (UMANG) platform.
UMANG provides a single platform for all Indian citizens to access, pan-India, e-Gov services ranging from Central to local government bodies and other citizen centric services.
Citizens need to install a single application to avail of multiple government services.
BENGALURU CABLE CUTS DISRUPT BROADBAND
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike's drive to cut off overhead cables has disrupted telecom & internet services, according to telecom industry body COAI.
COAI has asked the Karnataka government to formulate a comprehensive state tower policy that is aligned with Right of Way rules to facilitate smooth deployment of telecom infrastructure across the city.
"Such fibre cutting activities will hurt businesses, citizens and government services in the Silicon Valley of India immensely," said Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI.
"Before taking any suo-moto coercive action, BBMP should have called industry for a bilateral discussion to resolve the subject matter of concerns. This impulsive action will impact the overall internet connectivity and businesses especially IT firms in Bangalore," said T.R. Dua, Director General, Tower & Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA).
ACT PARTNERS AMAZON PAY
ISP ACT Fibernet has partnered with Amazon Pay to create a seamless bill payment channel for its customers. With this partnership, ACT Fibernet will integrate Amazon Pay on its company website, portal, and app, offering users with an additional channel to make online payments.
The ISP is already running a cashback offer on Amazon Pay. Users opting for Amazon Pay as a payment option will receive 10% cashback up to ₹ 1000.
The latest feature will help accelerate the transaction process and facilitate one tap bill payment. The e-wallet facility will be made available to all the 1.3 million registered customers across 14 cities where ACT Fibernet has its presence.
GOVT EXPLORES APP BLOCKING
In a letter by DoT to telcos & ISPs, DoT has written "You are requested to explore various possible options and confirm how the Instagram/Facebook/WhatsApp/Telegram and other such mobile apps can be blocked on internet."
DoT also plans to hold talks with social media companies on these issues. Fake News is a top priority, not only for cases of mob lynching, but its possible influence during the 2019 general elections.
The government is drafting guidelines that will bind companies such as Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube and Facebook to respond to complaints over content in a 'few hours' as against the current norm of 36 hours. Companies will also be required to have grievance officers stationed in India, an official said.
The new intermediary guidelines under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act will also require companies to respond to complaints from not just courts and government entities, but also the general public. n