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TRAI releases consultation paper on monopoly of cable operators

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TRAI releases consultation paper on monopoly of cable operators

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a consultation paper on Monopoly/ Market dominance in cable TV services. 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 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. TRAI has asked the stakeholders to submit their comments till June 24, 2013 and the counter comments by July 1, 2013.

It may be recalled in December 2012, Uday Varma, Secretary, Ministry of Information and broadcasting has 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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