Star India has put on hold the launch of its interactive television and broadband Internet service project with Hathway Cable & Datacom till digital cable penetration picks up and the issue of last mile control is resolved.
Star, which has picked up 26 per cent stake in Hathway, wants a major part of the investments to be put into acquisition of primary points from last mile cable operators which will give the MSO direct access to the customer homes. The other alternative is to enter into a partnership with franchisee operators and invest in upgrading their networks for such services.
As Hathway has a low level of digital cable penetration, Star decided to put off the launch of its interactive TV and broadband service. The two partners had planned to introduce the service in the middle of this year.
According to industry sources, laying fibre backbone also will be a low priority area. The strategy will be to lease out the backbone from big players who have idle bandwidth capacity with them. Hathway has already signed an agreement with Tata Power in Mumbai and is in talks with several other players in other big cities.
According to Hathway the project has been delayed indefinitely, although testing had been carried out for digital cable readiness of the network.
Star was planning to launch the digital interactive TV service with a bouquet of exclusive channels. Through the set top box, Star and Hathway would have offered Internet access to content which would have included interactive sports, news, entertainment channels and an electronic programming guide.