regulator Trai has released a consultation paper on Headend-in-the-Sky (HITS) with a view to promoting digital transmission in the cable TV segment.
HITS is a satellite based platform for delivering multi-channel television signals to cable operators across the country. It is capable of delivering TV signals in digital form with addressability features. The operator uplinks the signals of various TV channels to the HITS satellite and cable operators across the country can then downlink these TV channels for further distribution to subscribers in digital form. Since the HITS satellite will have a countrywide footprint, it will benefit about 60,000 cable operators who serve nearly 70 million cable TV homes.
The information and broadcasting ministry had asked Trai to formulate and recommend the policy guidelines for HITS operation, the regulator said in a statement.
The paper has sought comments from various stakeholders on policy issues such as the scope of HITS operations, the spectrum band, FDI limit, entry fee, annual fee, spectrum fee, uplinking restrictions and cross-holding restrictions. An open house discussion was also held on August, 27, 2007.
Digitalisation and addressability in transmission of broadcasting and cable services through HITS have various advantages over analogue transmission, including increased channel capacity, better reception and value added features such as programme guide and multiview.
It can also provide effective choices of channels to consumers. Currently, such features are available only to a limited number of cable subscribers in conditional access system (CAS) notified area of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, as well as to subscribers of DTH services.