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TRAI extends date for comments on monopoly in cable TV sector

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TRAI extends date for comments on monopoly in cable TV sector

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has given more time to stakeholders to give their comments on the consultation paper on Monopoly/ Market dominance in cable TV services. The last date for receiving written comments and counter comments has been extended up to July 1 and July 8, respectively. The earlier date for receiving comments was June 24.

TRAI had released a consultation paper on Monopoly/ Market dominance in cable TV services on June 3, 2013. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has sought TRAI’s recommendations on restriction to be imposed on MSOs and LCOs to prevent monopolies of interest in order to ensure fair competition, improved quality of service and equity.

At present, the cable TV services provided by MSOs and LCOs in the country have no restrictions in area and accumulation in terms of market share in city, district, state or country. It has been observed that majority of cable TV network is controlled by a single entity, virtually monopolising the distribution of cable TV services in these states. Such monopoly and market dominance may not be in the interest of consumers and may have serious implications in terms of competition, pricing and quality of service.

The objective behind preparing the consultation paper is to seek comments from stakeholders on issues related to monopoly in the cable TV sector.

It may be recalled in December 2012, MIB Secretary Uday Varma had written a letter to TRAI Chairman Rahul Khullar stating, “MSOs and LCOs are required to be registered with local post offices to be able to operate in the permitted areas of registration. However, as per recent amendment in the Cable Television Networks Amendment Rules 2012, it has become mandatory for MSOs to get themselves registered with the MIB to operate in those areas which are notified for analogue switch-off under Rule 11 C.” 

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