Vekselberg's Akado may lose support for Cisco

Due to sanctions, the company may have problems with the tele-business.
Cisco, because of the sanctions, can stop supporting the conditional access system "Akado", told the "Vedomosti" two people who are familiar with the managers of Akado. The same goes for the employee of the company involved in the development of such systems. According to one of Vedomosti's interlocutors, technical support may be discontinued in June.

Victor Vekselberg and Renova were introduced by the US Treasury Department on the sanctions list on April 6, since then, US residents have no right to deal with them, and companies and citizens from other jurisdictions themselves run the risk of being sanctioned if business continues with the list's participants.

The conditional access system encodes the TV signal that the provider transmits to the set top box (STB) of the subscriber, i.e., in fact, makes paid television payable. It allows the subscriber to watch only the channels for which he paid for, and protects the content from unauthorized access and piracy, explains the person familiar with the managers of Akado and the employee of the developer company. According to them, Akado now uses the NDS coding system - and this company was bought by Cisco in 2012. Other Russian pay-TV operators using NDS, interlocutors Vedomosti, it was difficult to name.

By itself, the denial of technical support is not terrible, without it the conditional access system can work for months, argues IskraTelecom's general director Alkhaz Mirzabekov. But a failure in such a system is a very serious risk for the operator, he warns: either users can stay without television, or the company - without paying users. In any case, the operator will lose part of the subscriber base and revenues from pay-TV, he complains.

Akado does not disclose how many pay-TV subscribers it has. According to Denis Kuskov, General Director of Telecо Daily, a failure in the conditional access system can affect approximately 220,000 Moscow subscribers of Akado. Their number varies little from year to year, he asserts. The average bill of the subscriber of pay TV "Akado", which uses STB, is 380 rubles. per month, says Kuskov, such a base can bring the provider just over 1 billion rubles. in year.

According to Mirzabekov, the problem of "Akado" could be solved by changing the provider of the conditional access system. This is agreed with the familiar managers of Akado and the employee of the conditional access system developer. Replacement of the system may require replacement of subscriber STBs, they suggest.

Employee of the Russian developer of conditional access systems estimates the change of the "Akado" encoding at about 600 million rubles. Almost all of these costs - the replacement of subscriber prefixes, he counted.

"Akado" by Viktor Vekselberg sells assets

The first place by the number of pay-TV subscribers in Moscow is occupied by Rostelecom (how many they are, the company does not report), the third - from MGTS with 590 000 subscribers (at the beginning of April). MGTS uses the conditional access system of American Verimatrix and does not plan to change it, says operator representative Tatyana Martyanova, primarily because Russian systems recognized by Western content-majors are not.

A representative of Rostelecom declined to comment, a person close to the company does not see the risks associated with sanctions: neither the operator nor his top managers are included in the sanctions lists. What kind of coding system is used, he did not say, but assured that it is European.