CAT Telecom yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Association of Cable and Satellite TV Network Providers (CABSAT) to upgrade the analog cable-TV broadcasting systems of many of the association’s members to digital technology.
CABSAT counts 300 cable-TV operators in its membership. Of that total, 193 are operating on an analog system and the rest on digital technology. CAT aims for all 300 to use its fibre-optics system.
This MoU will pave the way for the state telecom agency to access CABSAT members’ cable-TV subscribers, totalling 3 million households. This will give CAT the chance to offer its broadband Internet service to them.
CAT acting president Colonel Sanphachai Huvanandana said the partnership would help the agency bring fixed-line broadband to CABSAT’s subscribers nationwide. Currently CAT has only 30,000 broadband users.
"After this MoU, CAT will approach these 300 CABSAT members one by one within two months to upgrade them to CAT’s fibre-optics network. This will proved a shortcut to connecting to potential users nationwide," he said.
Manop Tokarnka, president of CABSAT, said the association’s members were required by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to upgrade their services so as to rearrange digital-TV channel numbers and comply with its "must carry" rule.
Under the NBTC’s channel-numbering rule, all cable and satellite TV providers must reserve channels 1 to 36 on their set-top boxes for digital terrestrial TV stations. Meanwhile, the must-carry rule mandates all cable and satellite TV operators to broadcast all 36 commercial and public digital TV channels.
Currently only a few cable-TV operators can afford to upgrade to digital technology to comply with the rules. According to the NBTC, there are 295 cable-TV operators, of which 193 are operating on analog.
"This MoU is a win-win solution for both sides, as CAT can gain more broadband users and cable-TV operators can upgrade to digital," Manop said.