'Low broadband penetration cramps IPTV's growth'

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New Delhi: The low broadband penetration in the country could hamper the growth of triple play services -- internet protocol TV and its subscriber base is unlikely to cross one million in the next four years, according to a study.

"Internet Protocol television (IPTV) will face a raft of problems, mainly the low base of broadband connections in the country, which will hold it back for atleast five years," the study by IT research firm Gartner said.

Despite being a more advanced technology capable of additional functionality, IPTV is not well placed in India when compared against other digital broadcast distribution channels like direct-to-home(DTH) satellite and digital cable.

There is a huge number of analog cable TV users in the country, who are paying almost half for cable television as compared to digital subscribers.

"Without a mass-market broadband usage in place, the Indian IPTV subscriber base will struggle to exceed 1 million in the next four years," Neha Gupta, senior research analyst, Gartner said. In 2006, the broadband market in India stood at 1.6 million lines and is expected to grow to 6.4 million by 2011, it added.

The existing pay TV platforms are tightening their grip on the market and will effectively block IPTV operators from being able to capture its target group of wealthy households.

On the issue of pricing regulations imposed on the pay-TV industry, IPTV is likely to be priced at the same level as digital cable and DTH, resulting in Average Revenue Per User (ARPUs) in the range of Rs 300 to Rs 500, as opposed to analog cable users paying Rs 150 to Rs 300.

IPTV, therefore, will not be able to compete with digital cable or DTH players in terms of price.

OneIndia News

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