Essel Group contracts SES New Skies transponder capacity

Mumbai: Subhash Chandra’s Essel Group has inked a multi-year, multi-transponder agreement with SES New Skies for the provision of C-band satellite capacity. This will support the digitalization of India’s cable infrastructure comprising more than 70 million homes.

The agreement is for capacity ramping up to six transponders over a five year period, and initially covers capacity on NSS-703 at 57° East, transitioning to NSS-12 in 2009.

The Essel Group has under its fold broadcasting, direct-to-home and cable networking businesses among others. SES New Skies’ satellite capacity will be used to support a new digital headend-in-the-sky (HITS) platform to distribute pay-TV signals to cable headends serving millions of Indian homes.

WWIL, an Essel Group company, plans to convert its existing analogue cable service to "HITS" and to roll out a service of up to 150 digital channels across India. The initiative is in line with the stated objective of the Indian government to speed up the deployment of digital infrastructure, and to enable conditional access services and value added services to more than 100 Indian cities and towns with populations greater than one million inhabitants.

"The Essel Group will continue to offer the widest range of entertainment choices and state-of-the art solutions to the Indian consumer with the support of partners like SES New Skies," said an Essel Group spokesperson.

SES New Skies sales VP Deepak Mathur said, "We are delighted to continue our strategic collaboration with the Essel Group. SES New Skies already provides Ku-band capacity for Dish TV on NSS-6, VSAT capacity on NSS-11 in cooperation with Antrix Corporation and now C-band capacity for this key digitalization initiative of Essel’s cable infrastructure. The Essel Group is one of our most valued customers globally and we are thrilled to have been selected to support the nationwide roll-out of "HITS", which is set to provide more digital television choice to millions of Indian cable homes."

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