Digi Jadoo Broadband Ltd, a unit of Mohammadi Group, launched digital cable connections to deliver more channels and better services to its customers.
“We started giving new connections on April 23 and the number of our customers stands at 1,000,” Navidul Huq, a director of the company, said in a recent interview.
Jadoo is selling set-top boxes at Tk 2,500 and Tk 3,500 each to its customers to deliver digital, flawless signals and clear picture.
A set-top box is a device that will be connected to each TV set with fibre optic cables by Jadoo.
The customers will be charged Tk 300 as monthly fees and can pay either their current cable operators who will act as franchisees, the local agents of Jadoo, or directly to the Jadoo office through mobile financial services, he said.
In the traditional analogue system, customers have access to a limited number of channels. In digital connections, the choice of channels will be far wider: at least 500 connections, according to Huq.
In the first year, Jadoo aims to sell one lakh set-top boxes in Dhaka. It will primarily run its business in Dhaka and plans to expand into Chittagong and Sylhet, Huq added.
The government should formulate policies for this new arena of business in the country so it will be able to collect revenue, and they can run their business smoothly as well, he said.
Also under the analogue system, the cable connection agencies are able to evade taxes, which creates uneven competition in the market, he added.
In the digital system, the government can track the agents as each agent will have a connection with the central server at the distributing company.
Currently, the government earns a few crores of taka in a year from this business, he said.
However, if the digital cable connections are made mandatory across the country, the government would be able to collect more than Tk 1,000 crore in revenue a year as nobody can evade the tariff, he added.
By preliminary estimates, Jadoo found that there more than 3 crore cable connections across the country, of which, more than 40 lakh are in Dhaka.
With a growing number of electricity connections in the rural areas, more and more people now like to watch cable TV, he said.
Jadoo imports the set-top boxes paying 65 percent in duties and 15 percent value added tax, which is why the prices cannot be reduced, said Huq.
If the duty is reduced, the prices of the devices could also be decreased, he added.
“We have a big digital cable connection market in Bangladesh. We should utilise this market.”
“I hope digital cable connections would gain popularity in Bangladesh as the companies will take care of the customers,” he said.
In the analogue system, customers do not receive good services from the connecting agencies due to a lack of proper authorities, Huq said.