Monday, 1 September 2008

Beginning of the IP Era

Two great things happened last month. First the approval of IPTV recommendations by the Cabinet and second the recommendations on VOIP by TRAI. Now the telecom companies can start their IPTV operations without any legal hassels. This will bring them in direct competition with the cable operators for providing satellite channels and other video content to the 130 million TV households. They can also now ask the broadcasters to provide them with all their signals.
VOIP recommendations have enabled the ISPs to provide voice based srevices to the consumers. Now they too can get into the business of basic telephony. The best part is that many of the Telcos and ISPs may provide their broadband services through the last mile operators who already have fiber and CAT-5 cables laid. This will give the LCOs another revenue source. 

We saw the NT Awards last month organized by There was nothing very new about the awards but for the news broadcasters’ rhetoric on self regulating themselves when the Secretary I & B, Mrs Sushma Singh, during her speech in the News Television Summit informed that the Centre was planning to have a fresh look at the content code for television programmes since the current one was outdated. It is a common fact that whenever the government declares its intentions to regulate the broadcasters, they start shouting on top of their voice demanding ‘Freedom of Press’. What to talk of content of news channels, even the other broadcasters have not mended their ways in spite of numerous bans and show-cause notices. MTV, IBN7 and Headlines Today got the warnings from the Ministry last month for violating the programming and advertising codes. 
DTH arena has another player BIG TV enter the field last month. If one reads about their strategy and plans, one wonders what others will do to compete as the whole thing looks too BIG to be contested. May be, Bharti’s entry brings some balance in the market. Now it is a money game all the way. I am surprised how does our government overlook all cross media holdings and permits these big giants to roll out all types of new media services in telecom as well as broadcasting. 
We crib about the analog cable networks running short of bandwidth for new channels, DTH operators short of transponder space and digital cable getting delayed because of the government’s lackadaisical approach, yet we keep on launching new channels, I wonder, with what hopes? Last month we saw the launch of Bhojpuri channel Mahuaa, UTV’s World Movies and many other announcements including 20 channels by Reliance and many regional channels by Star TV. 
We have the IBC event in Amsterdam this month, great time to network. 
Devastating floods in Bihar is an unfortunate happening that has adversely effected the lives of lakhs of people. Let us contribute our best in whatever way it is possible.

—— Lt. Col. (Retd.) K K Sharma



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