Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Triple Play on CATV

Lt. Col. (Retd.) K.K. Sharma
Existing cable TV networks are a great asset to the nation providing a last mile broadband connectivity to 80 million households. The co-axial based last mile has the largest bandwidth carrying capability; more than 4 Gbps, next only to fiber optic cables. None of the other technologies like DSL, WiMax or Satellite can provide this capability.

Government in Quandary

Hardly had the Information and Broadcasting ministry obtained the Law Ministry's clearance for a draft notification amending the cable television network rules 1994 that the news broadcasters created a hue and cry in their own media as well as in political circles on being gagged or throttled that the PM had to intervene and assure that changes in the Cable TV Rules and the Cable Television (Regulations) Act 1995 would be taken up only after ‘widest possible consultation’ with all stake-holders. This is not the first time that the PM had to intervene in a matter concerning regulations for the broadcasters. In August 2007 also the PMO had intervened to slow down the Draft Broadcast Bill until all stakeholders agreed on the need for any further regulations on TV and Radio. 

Safeguarding Consumer Interest : TRAI

TRAI takes further steps for protection of consumer interests and initiates consultation for Quality of Service aspects for non-CAS cable TV service and DTH services. In an effort to ensure quality services to subscribers residing in non-CAS areas as well as those subscribing to DTH services TRAI issued a consultation paper last year, on 1st December 2008.
The Authority had, earlier in 2004 indicated regarding the code and guidelines for Quality of Service for cable TV services but to no avail. No formal regulations were issued in view of highly fragmented nature of cable TV sector, because of implementation difficulties at ground level. Subsequently, TRAI issued Quality of Service Regulations for cable services for CAS notified Areas in 2006 and in 2007 where in the DTH subscribers too benefited. 

TARIFF HIKE FOR CABLE TV SERVICES

Aimed at providing inflation-linked adjustments in tariff ceilings, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on 26th Dec' 08 announced a seven per cent increase for cable TV services in CAS and non-CAS (conditional access system) areas and a reduction in the security deposit and monthly rental for set-top boxes in CAS areas.
With a seven per cent rise, the ceiling of MRP of pay channel has been increased to Rs. 5.35 per pay channel per month at the subscriber end (excluding taxes), and the basic service tier may cost up to Rs. 82 a month to the consumer (excluding taxes). At the existing tariff, the ceiling was at Rs. 5 (excluding taxes) per pay channel and Rs. 77 (excluding taxes) per month for the basic service tier consisting of a minimum 30 free to-air channels in the CAS notified areas.

REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR BROADCASTING IN INDIA

Ministry of Information & Broadcasting 
 Policy, Licensing of broadcasting sector, Content regulations, spectrum allocation.

TRAI Releases Consultation Paper On Interconnection

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has on 15 December 2008 released a consultation paper on interconnection issues relating to Broadcasting & Cable Services. 
TRAI had issued the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection Regulation on 10th December, 2004 and The Register of Interconnect Agreements (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Regulation was issued on 31st December, 2004. These Regulations have been amended from time to time to cover some new issues. However, the broadcasting & cable services sector is evolving at a fast pace. 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 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.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Adios 2008

Another year passes by! The financial crisis at the fag end of the year brought the cheers down for the industry which for the whole year demonstrated a very upbeat and vibrant mood. Financial crisis have affected the industry causing reduction in advertising revenues and not the subscription revenues which are still going northward. Subscriptions have increased both, in DTH as well as Cable TV. Cable Industry is also feeling the heat due to reduced carriage fee paid by the broadcasters. All imported equipment has become costly. DTH operators are paying more for the STBs and increasing subsidies to the subscribers to meet the competition, piling up more losses. But a silver lining in the dark clouds is that demand is still increasing everyday. Getting one million subscribers a month is not a joke.

January 2009

Friday, January 02, 2009 -- Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira demanded a CBI inquiry into the capture of cable network business in Punjab by SAD supporters.