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State run telco and internet provider BSNL has partnered with DTH operator Tata Sky, to offer free video on demand services to customers of BSNL for the first month worth Rs 500, reports BusinessLine. The partnership will start implementing the offer in one or two states first, and plans to expand to all the states within 6 months.

As a part of the agreement, BSNL will offer broadband for free for the first month as well. These users will then be able to hook up their connection to Tata Sky set top boxes that support internet connectivity, to use Tata Sky’s VoD service. The partnership will allow Tata Sky to promote its VoD platform, while BSNL will possibly see a few more customers.

Note that Tata Sky’s VoD service is currently available to anyone with a supported set top box, basically the ones with a USB or ethernet port. Users can either use a WiFi dongle or an ethernet cable to connect to the network. However, the STB does not yet support 3G-4G dongles.

The service provides free Catch Up TV, which records shows for users for up to 5 days, and access to various movies and TV shows, which are priced on a per item basis. The supported STB, the Tata Sky Transfer, is currently available for upwards of Rs 12,000, with yearly channel packages included.

Streaming to smartphones: Tata Sky launched Transfer in September last year, with capabilities to stream recorded shows directly on Android or iOS devices. The STB comes with a 500GB hard disk that the company claims can record up to 625 hours of user instructed shows. This data can then either be streamed or downloaded by the user on their iOS or Android device and viewed within 72 hours.

4K set top box: In January last year, Tata Sky launched a 4K set top boxes (STB) in India, capable of delivering content up to 3840×2160 pixels. The company launched the STBs with plans to broadcast the then upcoming Cricket World Cup in 4K.

BSNL’s WiFi hotspots: In January, BSNL said it was working on setting up 40,000 WiFi hotspots across the country to make up for the lack of its own 4G services. The company, which has been struggling to keep customers, claimed to have deployed 500 WiFi hotspots at the time. In November, Facebook and BSNL had entered into a partnership to create 100 WiFi hotspots in rural areas in India, for which Facebook would invest Rs 5 crore per year to buy bandwidth from the telco.