The cable guys out there will cheer this time for TRAI. The telecom regulator has come out with some path-breaking proposals, though at present in terms of a consultation paper, such as allowing cable operators to provide basic fixed telephony over small areas like LDCA at a reasonable level of entry fee, similar to the niche operator concept of Rural Service Provider (RSP).
The chief motive of the consultation paper on convergence and competition in broadcasting and telecom industries is to provide a level playing field for both the cable TV and telecom industries, which are competing with each other in the field of triple play (voice, data, video).
The consultation paper includes previous work done by TRAI in its individual recommendations on various issues along with the recommendations of the committee constituted by the regulator to examine issues relating to broadband and telephony over cable TV networks.
The objective of this consultation paper, as explained by the regulator, is to get inputs on various issues related with such a convergent regulatory framework as suggested by the committee, which includes:
i) Rationalisation of differential customs duty regimes in telecom and cable TV network
ii) Separate class for small cable operators in unified licensing regime
iii) Easier institutional funding for cable TV industry
iv) Parity in FDI for cable TV industry with the telecom industry
v) Allowing Right of Way to cable operators to provide digital services
vi) Relaxing restrictions for cable TV operators on use of protocols
Other issues such as high price of bandwidth, problems of interconnection, issues relating to VPN would be separately addressed, the paper said.