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Which technologies to be used for cable TVs remains the question that causes headaches for the management agencies. Meanwhile, service providers believe that the watchdog agency should stand neutral in the issue, letting service providers to decide themselves which technologies to use.
Viettel, FPT Telecom want coaxial cable
Nguyen Manh Hung, Deputy General Director of Viettel,, said that Viettel has developed 200,000 kilometers of cable throughout the country so far. Regarding the cable coverage, the distance gap between households is now about 350 meters. However, the gap would be narrowed to 200 meters or even 100 meters by 2015, which means that cable has reached out to households.
The large cable coverage allows Viettel to reduce the investment costs for cable and IPTV and provide high quality services. Especially, Viettel’s services can reach out to remote and rural areas and get popular to Vietnamese families.
There are three technology choices for cable TV, including brass cable, coaxial cable and fiber optic cable. Of the three, according to Hung, fiber optic cable should not be the best solution for TV-to-home service, because the technology remains very expensive. Meanwhile, brass cable would not have high quality, and it can be easily broken.
Therefore, coaxial cable proves to be the best for pay-TV services. Meanwhile, Hung said, Vietnam regrettably misses the technology.
Also according to Hung, at present, telecom network operators all choose coaxial cable, which allows them to both develop broadband Internet and cable TV as well, while it does not cause interference.
Meanwhile, fiber optic cable is now still too expensive. Therefore, service providers would only think of fiber optic cable for 50-60 percent of household subscribers after 2020. At present, they only dream of having fiber optical cable for 10 percent by 2015.
Viettel is now moving ahead with its plan to bring cable TV to every household in Vietnam. Therefore, only coaxial cable allows providing high speed broadband services to households.
However, Hung said that it would be better to let service providers to decide what to choose, while the watchdog agency would be better to spend time on the service quality management.
Sharing the same view with Hung, an executive of FPT said that it would be very costly to deploy cable TV services with fiber optic cable. Therefore, enterprises would have to predict the business efficiency to choose suitable technologies.
“The watchdog agency should remain neutral, while enterprises would make decision after considering their capability and the market demand,” he said.
Research institutes say one should not choose coaxial cable
An official from the Information and Communication Strategy Institute said at a recent workshop that there are 40 pay-TV service providers now, but the service has reached out to a small percentage of the population.
When asked about what kinds of TV would strongly develop in Vietnam in the time to come, Tran Minh Tuan, Deputy Head of the institute, said this would still depend on the terrain and technology.
In big cities, for example, people tend to use cable TVs because of the high requirements, while digital terrestrial TV or cable TV would be suitable for the lowland. Meanwhile, cable TV would not fit rural or remote areas.
Regarding the information that Viettel and FPT Telecom want to use coaxial cable to provide cable TV services, Tuan said that a new comer on the market should not use backward technologies or the technologies which are going out of date soon.
“Coaxial cable should not be developed. The best solution should be digital technology,” Tuan said.
Of course, coaxial cable can provide digital technology services. However, the institute has suggested using fiber optic cable instead of renovating the old technology. Meanwhile, the enterprises which have provided cable TV services already should think of shifting to use digital technology.
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