In a decision that will surely set the nascent market for direct-to-home (DTH) television services on fire, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (VSNL) intends to be the first company in India to enter this segment with an investment in excess of Rs 250 crore.
The proposal would be put up before the company board on January 22 for in-principle approval. VSNL, which is the country's sole international telecom carrier is according top priority to the DTH foray and is planning to be ready with a platform by July this year.
VSNL will not get into television software or programming, but remain an infrastructure provider for companies who are interested in the business. In addition, the company is yet to firm up its mind as to whether it will undertake marketing of customer premise equipment like set-top boxes or dish antennas. VSNL also intends to add value by bundling Internet channels through its DTH service.
VSNL's plans are very significant as a number of private companies like Star TV, Zee Telefilms, DSL Dishnet and the government owned Prasar Bharati are planning to make a foray into DTH services. If VSNL achieves first to market advantage, it will be in a position to offer services to these companies.