India's Reliance Industries, parent company of operator Reliance Jio Infocomm, has announced strategic investments in two multiple system operators (MSOs) to accelerate the planned JioGigaFiber rollout.
The company plans to invest 22.9 billion rupees ($311.48 million) to take a 66% stake in Den Networks Limited, India's largest cable TV distribution company and a provider of high-speed broadband services in 100 cities nationwide.
Reliance Industries will also invest 29.4 billion rupees for a 51.3% stake in Hathway Cable and Datacom Limited, a cable TV company providing high speed broadband in 21 cities.
The company intends to make open offers for DEN and Hathway shares as well as two Hathway subsidiaries, as required by Indian takeover regulations.
Announcing the planned investments, Reliance Industries said the acquisitions will accelerate Jio's efforts to bring the JioGigaFiber service to a potential 50 million homes across 1,100 Indian cities and towns as quickly as possible.
Jio will work with Hathway and DEN to bring the JioGigaFiber services to the two companies' 24 million existing cable customers.
Jio plans to use the JioGigaFiber network to offer high-speed broadband, ultra high definition video streaming, multi-party video conferencing, VR gaming, smart home and AI virtual assistant and fixed mobile convergence services.
Reliance Industries chairman and MD Shri Mukesh said the acquisition is also expected to benefit the 27,000 local cable operators (LCOs) that are aligned with Hathway and DEN by enabling them to participate in India's digital transformation. Indian LCOs provide coaxial cable connections on a per-neighborhood basis.
“With Local Cable Operators now as part of the Jio ecosystem, we look forward to bringing Jio’s advanced JioGigaFiber and Smart Home Solutions to more Indian homes, even quicker,” he said.
“We look forward to welcoming other MSOs and LCOs to be part of this partnership. This will result in growing wireline data connectivity in India and making state-of-the-art high-speed affordable internet and digital services accessible to the widest population in the shortest possible time.”