The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) will bring out two consultative papers — the first on digitalisation will be brought out next month while the second one on the issue of private participation in the terrestrial broadcasting will come later.
“The consultative paper on digitalisation will focus on issues like investments required and timeframe. For instance, China has a timeframe of 2008,” said Rakesh Kacker, advisor to the authority.
He was speaking at a seminar on “Trai report on issues relating to broadcasting and distribution of TV channels” organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Ficci) as part of FRAMES 2005, Knowledge Series.
Earlier, SET India CEO Kunal Dasgupta expressed himself in favour of licensing to control cable operators. “There should be competition amongst cable operators who have control over last mile linkage. Maybe, there is a need for disruptive legislation like licensing. The 13,000 odd cable operators need to consolidate,” said Mr Dasgupta.
Direct-to-home television (DTH) too cannot offer competition to cable operators, Mr Dasgupta added.
Trai chairman Pradip Baijal, however, disagreed with Mr Dasgupta. “There are around 50 million cable and satellite television million homes which have come up in the last 14 years despite there being no regulation. This is due to Indian entrepreneurship. Further, DTH will offer competition to cable at least in the premium end,” said Mr Baijal.
Prasar Bharti CEO K S Sarma said, “We are also keen on getting into the pay TV business. Prasar Bharti can act as a gateway for DTH operators.”