Creating a well established digital network in West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand, Siti Cable has NOW acquired 50% stake in Assam-based independent multi-system operator (MSO) Axom Communications & Cable (ACC) making an entry in the North East, where the Phase III & IV market dominates.. The acquisition has been made through Siti Cable’s Kolkata based subsidiary Indian Cable Net Company Ltd (ICNCL). ACC, which is now an equal JV between the two companies, will be named ACC Siti Cable. There are three directors from ICNCL side and AXOM has two directors in the JV which is already operational. From Siti Cable side, the three directors on the company’s board are Anil Malhotra, Suresh Sethiya and Anil Jain. Sanjeev Narain and Gautam Bharali are directors from Axom.
The JV has presence in Assam and Meghalaya. As part of its expansion strategy, it will expand into the remaining five northeast states of India. According to Narain, the partnership with Siti will help with faster expansion. The JV is targeting over one million subscribers in the northeast. In digital addressable system (DAS) Phase III, Axom has seeded 300,000 set-top boxes (STBs) in Assam and targets about a million subscribers in the next two years. Axom has a vendor financing deal with Cisco Capital for supply of Cisco STBs.
The MSO is also upgrading its digital headend to increase its capacity to 500 channels. The new digital headend will be procured from Cisco. The MSO plans to offer 440 SD and 60 HD channels to the subscribers. It is also planning to offer broadband services.
Siti Cable has so far announced its agreement to acquire seven small-sized cable TV companies, including Mumbai-based Scod18 Networking.