India’s Manthan to install 3.6m STBs

One of India’s major cable MSOs, Manthan, says it will install 3.6 million digital set-top boxes in and around Kolkata and Bengal region during 2014 at a cost of more than $69 million.

Manthan’s headquarters are in Kolkata, and one of its directors Sudip Ghosh, said it would be signing an additional $18 million contract for systems management at its head-ends to cover encryption, SMS and call centre upgrades.

Kolkata has, to date, failed to manage its analogue-to-digital conversion process, largely because residents have not completed an all-important (to India’s massively bureaucratic local government) document, the Customer Application Form (CAF), to help with the digitisation and billing process.  Customers are supposed to identify and list what channels they want to view once digital kicks in.

As at 3pm on August 23rd only about 45 per cent of Kolkata residents had completed the CAF, and the country’s TRAI regulator was threatening to switch off analogue TV completely in an attempt to get citizens to comply.  This decision will be taken August 27th when a TRAI team will visit the city.

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