After rolling out the Triple Play services -- television, internet and telephone -- at a nominal price through the Fiber Grid to 1.1 lakh households in the state on Wednesday, the state government has now set its eyes in reaching the target to provide the services to the remaining 1.19 crore households by December, 2018.
While the trunk infrastructure -- 23,900 kms of fiber line on electrical poles -- is already in place, the officials are now expediting the last mile connectivity. “We finished laying the fiber network long ago. The last mile connectivity, which means ensuring the transmission of services to the households, is under way. We are working with local cable operators (LCOs) and multi service operators (MSOs) to establish the link to the homes of the people,” a senior official from AP State FibreNet Limited observed.
However, the only challenge that remains is the progress and availability of set-top boxes. While there are about three lakh Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) boxes available, there are only 30,000 Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) boxes. Only if there are both GPON and IPTV boxes, a user can access the Triple Play services.
“We also have come up with combo boxes, where all three services can be accessed using just one set-top box. As of now, we have about 50,000 of them ready. We are getting more soon,” another official added.
So how does the project work? The state government has set up the service providing infrastructure at the Network Operations Centre (NOC) in Visakhapatnam. The Triple Play services, transmitted from the NOC, will be received by the offices created at state-level, zonal-level and mandal-level where nodes are created.
“From the nodes, the Points of Presence located in the electrical sub-stations receive the data. From here, the Local Cable Operators (LCOs) and Multi System Operators (MSOs) transmit the signal, which is received by the set-top boxes connected to electronic devices at homes,” the official explained.
While there are apprehensions that the state government would exercise control over the telecast of programs, officials rubbished them. Speaking to TNIE, principal secretary (infrastructure, investments and CRDA) Ajay Jain said, “The aim of the government is to ensure digital connectivity across the state. Yes, we will provide more health-related and education related content to be aired, but will have no say in channels’ schedules. Ultimately, it is the consumer who chooses what he/she wants to watch.
So, we will have no say in what or what not to be telecast.” Further clarifying on the tie ups with MSOs and LSOs, Jain, who is also the chairman of APSFL, said that the government is only creating an ecosystem without disturbing the existing network.
The MSOs and LCOs too have pledged their support to the project. They said that the state government cannot act on its whims with regarding to blocking a channel, and hence there is no cause for concern.
“There is a protocol to follow if a channel is to be taken off air. Notices have to be served and other procedures have to be duly followed. We have not come across any such apprehension so far among MSOs. If there are any such instances, we will work with the government. We are all working together,” Andhra Pradesh Multi Service Operators’ Association president PotluriSaibabu stated. – New Indian Express