India’s cable industry is unique and complex. The operators at the regional, city and state level deliver double-play services to subscribers / TV Viewers (Cable TV & Internet connectivity). In order to stay relevant, cable operators need an accessible way to up their game through the delivery of high quality content. On the other hand establishment of new hubs in every locality is prohibitively expensive. Real estate costs, satellite dish costs, the laying of new local ring networks, software, ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs, and more. There is the danger of newer entrants with faster networks and more modern infrastructure capturing market share with a quality of service-based offering. There is also an external threat that operators face: internet TV, delivered via the ISP service to the customer’s TV, Internet TV, and high-definition content on internet video hosting sites could seriously impact cable TV revenues.
A more efficient model is needed
An efficient model would be to establish zonal hubs to access satellite content and then connecting that hub through a high-speed fibre network to different towns, cities and localities. Last mile delivery can then be tailored to the regulations prevailing in each locality. Using fibre optic cabling and highly efficient broadcast technologies such as Layer Two Multicast, modern networks perform at extremely high levels and are efficient to run. The cost of laying and managing a proprietary fibre optic network is a barrier to deployment of such a solution solution. An effective way to get around this is to lease capacity from providers operating national fibre networks that spans the country, interconnecting the major metros and thousands of towns and cities. Cable operators just need to receive the transmission at the hub, boost the signal, and place it on the network for transport. The signal is then delivered to the destination, where the operator once again takes charge of the signal to deliver it locally.
High-quality multicast networks offer a number of advantages
Using fibre and multicast technology for the transmission, apart from the last mile, makes signal delivery near instantaneous. Another major advantage of this approach is that it requires minimal additional capital expenditure from the cable operator, and no installation or upgrades at the subscriber’s end. It is compatible with existing network infrastructure to a great extent and works smoothly with digital set top boxes to receive and decode transmissions.
It allows cable operators to also place their own feeds on the network and piggyback on its bandwidth to transmit to other cities or regions: allowing local events to be streamed live or the placing of specific content on default channels.