Keeping in mind the stiff competition between DTH players and the cable industry, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a consultation paper on interconnection issues relating to broadcasting and cable services. The last time such a consultation paper was issued on interconnection was on December 10, 2004, the regulations issued were constantly amended in order to cover new issues. The Authority has invited all stakeholders to respond to the issues raised in this consultation paper by January 12, 2009.
There has been a marked increase in deployment of addressable platforms for distribution of TV channels in recent past. IPTV services and voluntary CAS have been rolled out by many service providers. In the near future, Head-End In The Sky (HITS) and mobile TV services are also likely to be available. The number of subscribers being served by the DTH services has also gone up significantly.
This consultation paper covers the interconnection issues for addressable platforms, interconnection issues for non-addressable platforms, general interconnection issues as well, as issues related to registration of interconnection agreements.
FDI hike not important for DTH and cable industry
TRAI had earlier recommended a hike in FDI to 74 per cent from the current 49 per cent in DTH and IPTV, which excluded the cable industry, which the Government is said to be considering. exchange4media speaks to Roop Sharma, President, Cable Operators Association of India (COAI), and Salil Kapoor, COO, DishTV to find out how much the FDI hike matters to them and their expectations from the Government.
Although a section of the cable industry is unhappy with the TRAI recommendation, Sharma has a different take on it. He said, “The cable industry does not want more than 49 per cent of the FDI, however, the fact remains that the growth in the cable industry will remain good even in 2009 despite the competition from DTH players, and no matter what, the cable industry is here to stay and give a tough fight to their competitors.”
Kapoor was of the opinion that, “Even if the FDI is hiked to 74 per cent, it will not help the industry much as we have Indian promoters and, therefore, FDI has no role to play in it. Whether or not the Government hikes FDI limit, it will be of no difference to us. We are available even in the most remote areas of the country and provide 100 per cent remote coverage, which is not so in cable and being an information industry, Government support is vital. Currently, the industry is based on total subsidy and multiple taxes, which are hurting the industry. Government support should come by way of lowering these multiple taxes, which, in turn, will help in the growth of DTH industry.”