The recommendations made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on ‘Headend-in-the-sky’ (HITS) are under examination of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, in consultation with other Ministries and Departments in order to formulate policy guidelines.
TRAI has recommended that there should not be any transmission band restriction for HITS operators. The uplinking and downlinking guidelines should be amended to enable broadcasters to provide signals to all distributors of TV channels such as cable operators, multi-system operators (MSOs), DTH operators, HITS operators, IPTV service providers, etc.
The stakeholders are divided on the issue of band of operation. The service providers of cable services are more in favour of having the band of operation in ‘C’ band, while the DTH operators are inclined towards HITS operation in both ‘Ku’ and ‘C’ bands. However, no one preferred only Ku band for HITS operation.
HITS is a digital delivery platform to distribute multiple channels via satellite straight to cable operators. The essential difference between a HITS operator and the operation of an MSO is that the former transmits the bundle of channels to the cable operators using a satellite, whereas the latter does the same through a cable. HITS operator’s area of coverage spans the whole country, whereas the MSO’s area of coverage is confined to a limited geographical area (typically a town or a city) close to his headend.
Cable operators subscribing to services of a HITS operator would be able to provide a large number of channels with better picture quality and choice of channels to their subscribers than the conventional analog services. The introduction of HITS services would speed up the process of migration from analog to digital mode of transmission and distribution of television signals resulting in benefits to all stakeholders, including subscribers, cable operators, broadcasters and the Government.
The policy regarding HITS is under finalisation. However, no time frame could be given on such policy issues, said a statement issued by the I&B Ministry.