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January 2019


By Piyush Chakraborty

The Cable and satellite industry had started as an informal sector requiring minimal technical capabilities. Over the years as the sector grew and more sophisticated technology got incorporated, a need arose for better qualified and skilled manpower.

The government of India also promulgated the National Skill Qualification framework as an umbrella framework for certification across the levels, with sector skills council formed to be the apex bodies to create the structured mechanism and be the certifying authority under the framework. The Electronics sector skills council of India was entrusted to be the body for skill development in the electronics sector, under which cable and satellite falls as a sector.


Cable TV has its roots in the late seventies. Indian television viewers were looking for entertainment options, apart from what state-owned broadcaster DD was offering. That came their way with the import and manufacture of video cassette recorders permitted domestically. Enterprising individuals in apartment blocks placed a video in their homes or their garages and started offering a cable TV service to people who opted for it. At this stage, cable TV was restricted to the major metros and towns and the upper crust of society.

The impetus for its spread came in 1990 with the advent of the Gulf war. Ted Turner's CNN started beaming news reports of the bombing of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein and sparked off a demand for satellite dishes. Only the affluent could afford them. Some cable operators who had been running their Hindi and English movie channels added dishes and started relaying CNN into homes. This spurred demand for cable TV, making it a lucrative business and it attracted more individuals to the industry.


India has over 167 million households (out of 234 million) with television sets, of which over 161 million have access to Cable TV or Satellite TV, including 84 million households which are Digital (including DTH) subscribers. Digital TV households have grown by 32% since 2013 due to migration from terrestrial and analog broadcasts. TV owning households have been growing at between 8-10%. Digital TV penetration is at 64% as of September 2014. The growth in digital broadcast has been due to the introduction of a multi-phase digitisation policy by the Government of India. An ordinance was introduced by the Govt. of India regarding the mandatory digitization of the Cable Services. It is estimated that India now has over 883 TV channels covering all the main languages spoken in the nation.


All was fine in terms of growth and numbers but Technology was changing so fast, no knowledge was shared or available anywhere except with the vendors who were controlling the technology for the cable operators. In case of a problem and if the operator’s technicians were not able to diagnose the problem, they had to depend on the vendors technicians. Sometimes they too were also not equipped to solve the problem and had to wait for the technicians from abroad. Learning was only through On Job training only and Trained Manpower still not available.

The way forward is to conduct a due diligence of the whole ecosystem and identify the critical skill gaps and quantum of technical resources engaged in those points. This will enable us to identify technical manpower across specific geographies for skill development exercise leading to a skilled workforce in sector aligned to the national benchmark and certified under the NSQF.

Discussion with different Cable Network Owners, last mile Operators and Technicians gave rise to the job roles they need trained manpower immediately. The Job roles that come out of discussions are

  • Headend Engineer and Technicians- New
  • MSO Technicians- New
  • LCO Technicians-New
  • STB Repair Technicians- New
  • Upskilling for Broadband- For Existing MSO and LCO technicians

Regarding the Headend Engineer after discussions with team, we came to the conclusion that there will be a lot of mergers of headends.

STB repair technicians is indeed a job role that is needed immediately but this will not hamper the Cable transmission ecosystem. We deliberately put it on the next priority box.

Cable TV technicians have lot of similarity in role with Broadband technicians or Security Surveillance technicians. Even in Smart City projects they are needed. We researched the requirement for cable TV technicians with FEEDBACK Consulting. The result was quiet startling:

  • With the coming of various government & private projects like NOFN, SOFN, Bharat Net that aimed at connecting 2,50,000 Gram panchayats of the country with a speed of 100 Mbps connectivity to each there is going to be huge requirement for cable technicians with a knowledge of Broadband, to deploy & maintain the network.
  • AP Fibrenet or Telangana Fibre has laid fibres to the Gram Panchayat level. Fibre needs to go the subscriber point mainly through MSOs/LCOs.
  • K-FON (Kerala Fibre Optics Network ) will also start by 2020


The Electronics Sector Skills Council of India (ESSCI) is a Not-for-Profit Organization, registered under the Indian Companies Act, 1956.The Council has been promoted by 6 Associations i.e. CEAMA, ELCINA, IESA (formerly ISA) , IPCA, MAIT & ELCOMA, with financial support by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).

The ESSCI’s focus is on establishing an effective and efficient ecosystem for developing and imparting outcome oriented skills for the Electronics Systems, Design and Manufacturing Industry (ESDM). ESSCI's mandate comprises plethora of deliverables including development of curriculum, courses, information database, and delivery system. ESSCI is responsible for measuring the outcome based skill system using standardization, accreditation and certification processes to enhance the employability of the Indian workforce globally

ESSCI currently has 3,700 certified trainers and 2,400 assessors with 1,100 training partners having over 4,550 training centres across the country, that are well equipped to undertake skill development across job roles in all segments of ESDM. ESSCI has developed 159 Qualification Packs (QPs) or Job Roles with 60 model curriculums and over 250 National Occupation Standards (NOS).

National Occupational Standards (NOS) describe best practices by bringing together performance criteria, knowledge and skills pertaining to a job role. A set of NOSs related to a specific job role is called Qualification Pack (QP)

The NSQF courses are outcome driven. It is an educational theory specifically designed for vocational programs that bases each part of an educational system around goals (outcomes). At the end of each chapter it is mentioned what has been taught. All the NSQF job roles are industry validated and hence it has wider acceptance across the industries.

ESSCI has all NSQF aligned Qualification Packs for the skill development in this segment and have been closely developed with the industry and after assessing the intrinsic demand for trained technical manpower in the industry in near future. The Electronics Sector Skills Council of India has so far skilled over 1 million+ candidates in various job roles in electronics.

The Electronics Sector Skills Council of India is moving ahead with an ambitious program to work closely with the industry and is committed to skill over 2 million candidates in the electronics sector.


The ESSCI CEO, Mr N K Mohapatra has a clear cut vision for the future and believes in the management philosophy of working towards result oriented tasks and with his outcome based approach of measurable performance, that ‘you can manage only, if you can measure’, also become our guiding philosophy of thought leadership. Mr Mohapatra is known for his meticulous, hands on approach in almost all aspects of the electronics industry, spanning from product design, product development, positioning and sales. The vast experience and dependence on work ethics has defined his achievements so far.

He developed the first indigenous S-Band Low Noise Block down Converter (LNBC) that was earlier imported from the US. The concept of first down conversion in the outdoor unit was his brainchild. He also had an entrepreneurial stint in setting up his own unit in Bangalore f o r manufacturing S a t e l l i t e receivers and cable TV hardware.

He is actively involved with Satellite and Cable Television from its inception. ESSCI has knowledge and perfect understanding of the current market scenario with evolving MSOs and LCOs.


Basis on the research and analysis conducted for the cable TV market we have worked upon the below mentioned courses relevant to the industry. The objective of this training program is to develop good access and network technicians for this industry. The courses we developed are:

Digital Cable Technician - Access. ELE/Q8106 NSQF Level 4 – (DCTA) - Duration-200hrs Min Qualification-10th Pass. (Cable and Broadband)

This course is specially developed for new entrants who want to enter into the cable and broadband field. This person will be directly interacting with customers so should be polite, good listener and good talker. He is responsible for installation, maintenance, and repair of cable and Broadband Network and Set-Top-Box at premises. The person must have knowledge of Fibre Optics network for Broadband Implementation. The technicians work on the trunk line and sub-trunk line, and inspect cable lines, lay cables under or on top of the building and repair cable and fibre faults. After completion of the course he can work as LCO technician capable of handling the network from LCO port to Customer end. He will be working closely with MSO technicians and will report if there is any problem in his network through the LCO operator.

Digital Cable Technician - Network. ELE/Q8701 NSQF Level 5-(DCTN), Duration- 200hrs, Min Qualification- ITI (Cable and Broadband)

This course is higher level than the previous one also meant for new entrants. The person is responsible for planning and creation of new trunk route designs, connecting hub port to LCOs, testing the signals at LCO location, and installing and commissioning of multi play networks. This also includes working on the broadband platform and designing and commissioning the broadband fibre optics network. After completion of the course he can be a MSO technician and can take care of the network after headend to LCO port. He also is capable of handling customer complaints if the LCO technician cannot handle the faults. The person also caters to customer complaints and interacts with colleagues and LCOs effectively.


“My self & my brother attended ESSCIs Upskilling program Organised and conducted by Maheshwari Electronics & Cable TV pvt Ltd in association with ESSCI council. The training gave us confident to implement FTTH to our Cable TV customer. We have 2300 CATV connections, we have now connected 850 homes through FTTH. We are grateful to participate in the training.”

Mob: 7676762334.

“I along with 4 of our staff attended the Upskilling program at Bangalore. We got a good practical hands on experience on how to operate Splicing machine, OTDR. We are implementing the Fibre technology to all our cable TV customer. We are very happy to send our new staff to this type of training program. Thanks ESSCI”


“My self Lakshmikanth and my colleague Ghansham, E participated the FTTH training. We had only basic networking knowledge after attending the program we got good knowledge on Fibre technology we learned how to configure OLT, ONT, ONU , which are the latest equipment used in FTTH technology. We are very thankful to the organizers”.

-Lakshmikanth, ACT Broadband, Bangalore

Upskilling on both the courses. Duration 30hrs and only for Cable Operator Technicians

This course is designed specifically for Cable operator technicians. They have good knowledge of Video transmission as they are doing it from the beginning. The broadband implementation is new and MSOs are delivering the broadband to the subscribers in various methods, be it GPON or DOCSIS. The GPON is mainly used now a days because of easier to handle and faster implementation. This course duration is off 30hrs and completed in 3 days with assessment. The course contains a brush-up on Fundamentals of networking, about Multi play services, OSP and ISP architecture, Designing of FTTH system, little bit on soft skilling and loads of practical. We have attached some testimonials of technicians who have done this course in Bangalore and Cochin.

For the current technicians the upskilling course is important but for the new requirement the DCTA and DCTN is required. After making the Qualification Pack or the Job role the same was validated by 10 Major, 10 medium and 10 small operators.


ESSCI has a vast network of training centres across the country with 1,100 affiliated training partners having over 4,550 training centres across the country. The ESSCI reach has the capability to undertake skill development across job roles in all segments of ESDM. The cable operator technicians can be trained in these centres, while a new centre can be deployed in case there is no centre in the desired location.

There are two ways we can approach for training. One is Paid Scheme and the other is through Government.

Government has initiated a scheme called National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS). Any cable operator who has a valid company can take this facility. 10% of his employee he can recruit as Apprentices. This apprenticeship can be from 6months to 2 years. There is no ESI or PF and also no minimum wages for these apprentices. Government reimburses 25% of the salary to the employer to the maximum of ₹ 1500. Also Government pays ₹ 7500 for 500 hrs of training to these cable operators. The cable operator can get their apprentices trained on the cable courses. In this way they get fresh technicians to their workforce.

The alternative is a paid model wherein the 30 hrs training with the assessment can be availed for ₹ 2500. After completion the technicians are provided a Government certificates under the NSQF. If the MSOs wants to go for mass training for his technicians, this can be undertaken through the funded route under both the schemes.

The Cable Operator may also choose to deploy and align their training infrastructure and get it affiliated to ESSCI for certification under the NSQF.

If you desire further information/clarification please mail me on


A veteran of the Media and Entertainment Industry possessing deep insights and expertise and having more than 35+years of experience across the technology life cycle from creation and management of the networks to technology integration and skill development. Having worked with big names like Shyam antenna, EchoStar, Star Networks and moving into the wider canvas to manage large skill development across the sector nationwide through the Electronics SSC. An Accomplished and known name in the industry regarded as a mentor to a generation of young professionals he has helped to create.