Saturday, 1 December 2007

Lagging The Target

Year end has come and the "Year of Broadband" has not proved to be so. The broadband penetration has only reached 2.7million from 2 million last year, an increase of 35 %. But we have a target of 20 million to be accomplished by 2010.1 feel it is our policies that are to be blamed. Unless it is a concerted effort on the part of our government to sincerely follow the recommendations of the regulator and also make such policies that may unleash all our resources, it will not be enough. Our land lines(ADSL) are not adequate for broadband .We are banking too much on wireless which is still far away as the spectrum issue has not been resolved yet. Mobile has not gone beyond 144kbps in providing broadband. This way TRAI's recommendations to the government will not have any meaning.
We are still failing to understand the potential of cable networks in carrying broadband. So far they have the highest bandwidth carrying capacity. We only have to harness this resource and find ways and means to consolidate it through proper guidelines and policies. 
IPTV is another non starter. Since last eighteen months our telcos are tying to create a hype to sell the product but it is still much short of consumer expectations .Only announcements do not create a market. Content and delivery, both are lacking in the implementation.
On the broadcasting front the TRAI order for fixing tariff in non-CAS areas from 1st December 2007 has met with its first hurdle as broadcasters have challenged it in TDSAT. None of the pay channel broadcasters have announced their a-la-carte rates as directed by TRAI. Even the Broadcast Bill which the I&B Minister had assured to be presented in the winter session has once again been deferred due to lack of response from the broadcasters Inspite of a slow progress in digitalization of cable networks, there is no end in the launching of new channels .Not only this, the channels are being launched in bunches (bouquets).There are already about 300 Channels allowed to down link in India. INX, BAG Television, TV18, UTV are some big names but there are many smaller ones waiting for registration. 
I wonder how will our analog cable systems carry it all. Sure, this is going to bring a hike in carriage fee but what about survival? 
We have introduced two new columns in this issue; Gadgets for Executives and programmes on the channels hope our viewers like it. Feedbacks are appreciated. 
With this we wish all readers a very happy and prosperous new year and hope many of us can fulfill their dreams and hopes in the coming year. 

—— Lt. Col. (Retd.) K K Sharma



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