Saturday, 1 May 2010

Too Many Consultations No - Result

Month of April kept everyone busy studying the three important consultation papers put up on their website by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. I feel it is too harsh on the stake holders to make them answer such lengthy papers comprising of more than 100 pages of text in a matter of 20 days to a month. No one will be able to comment with a cool mind giving due thought to all the aspects. People are sending their comments only because similar papers on Non CAS area tariff, issues concerning HITS and CAS area issues have already been discussed on earlier occasions since 2004 and nothing has come out of all these elaborate exercises. No one appears to obey the sector regulator and Ministry is sleeping with TRAI’s numerous recommendations. Replies coming forth from the stake holders indicate their frustrated minds.
Every stake holder is struggling to make his/her voice heard but nothing seems to be happening. Industry stands where it was in 2003 when the major regulation on CAS was introduced, a step taken to regulate and organize the industry eight years after the Cable Television Act came into force. Government’s approach in regulating this industry has been completely negative. It has never though of its adverse implications in the long run. All stake holders are fighting for survival blaming one another. TRAI has become almost redundant because it is only the courts whose orders are being followed whether it is CAS implementation or tariff issues. Even the DTH tariff of 50% of the non-CAS tariff has been directed by the court. 
DTH is the only service in the industry which is showing good signs of growth although the operators always crib about multiple taxation. We spoke to all the CEOs of Six pay DTH companies and concluded that value added services and newer technologies like the HDTV,DVR, PVR, Video on demand and interactive services are the path to popularity. In this special issue on DTH we have tried to give a balanced view of the present state of the industry. 
Major shows of the season are over. Convergence India, our home grown show did quite well this time as I found MSOs and Operators coming from all the states. Chinese exhibitors were in great number this time. NAB show in the USA also highlighted many new technologies in broadcasting like the 3DTV. Many new products were launched there. CCBN in China had also attracted many international players as Chinese digital market is growing at fast pace. Now we wait for Broadcast Asia in Singapore and hope that world economy will be well up in the graph to mark a revival. 
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—— Lt. Col. (Retd.) K K Sharma



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