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Set top boxes to be cheaper

Last updated on: February 29, 2008 20:32 IST

The DTH industry in India is likely to witness a price cut in its services in near future, with the government proposing a cut customs duty to zero per cent from the existing 7.5 per cent on specified parts of set top boxes.

"The Union budget 2008-09 has brought some positive highlights for the DTH industry. At present, there is zero duty on import of set top boxes. It has also removed duty on import of specified parts of the set top boxes. This will provide opportunity for DTH players to evaluate the option of manufacturing STBs locally," Dish TV Managing Director Jawahar Goel said.

"The benefits will of course be passed on to the consumers," he added.

The countervailing duty has been reduced from 16 per cent to 14 per cent, the cost of the customet premises equipment would go down to the similar affect and will benefit the DTH operator who is already providing considerable subsidies to consumer and will further accelerate the date of digitalisation in the country, he said.

However, Tata Sky Managing Director Vikram Kaushik said there seems to be no significant difference to DTH sector, which is reeling under unprecedented Tax Burden of 56

per cent as no special mention is made for the bigger items such as differential treatment on Service Tax due to double taxation and desired level of reduction on Excise Duty on STBs.

Kaushik did not comment on any price reduction for the consumers.

Aksh Optifibre, which offers Internet Protocol TV services in partnership with state-owned telecom major MTNL, said the proposed move would give a big boost to IPTV services.

"For IPTV, its a big boost. This will increase the penetration and help in the roll out of services faster," Aksh Managing Director Kailash Chaudhary told PTI.

Commenting on the its impact on IPTV services, he said, there would be no reduction as we already do not charge users for STBs. It may help DTH users, who are being charged for it, he added.

Essel Group promoted Dish TV has about 2.5 million DTH users, while Tata Sky has 1.5 million users across the country.

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