Thursday, 1 July 2010

Traiff Decided

During entire month of June, industry regulator TRAI and other stakeholders were busy deciding on the cable TV tariff in non-CAS areas. After a consumer survey, consultation paper and several intense meetings with all stakeholders, TRAI is expected to come-up with a proposal, capping the monthly cable TV tariff to Rs 250 plus taxes for a complete bouquet of channels. However, operators are allowed to charge lesser. For free-to-air channels, consumers have to pay just Rs 100. 
Among many other issues, the long-pending issue of bringing parity in the price that cable operators and MSOs pay to broadcasters in order to access their content was also discussed upon. Rationalization of the price structure at par with other technologies such as DTH and IPTV was long needed and I hope that this time, it would get clearance from the Government. 

Yet several issues including the issue of unwanted channels forced on consumers, interoperability issue in DTH, heavy taxation and no government vision for technology upgradation like in case of HD, are still to be resolved. We are discussing these issues in detail in this edition. 
Another issue which has been in the limelight for quite some time is the beautification of the capital New Delhi before the Common Wealth Games for which all cable operators have been asked to remove their overhead cables by June 30. Operators are doing their best but the Government needs to look at the issue through a wider lens and should come-up with a policy for Right of Way (RoW) for the industry in all cities and villages across the country. 
The Government continues to cheer as after 3G, BWA has also brought around Rs 38,500 crore to the exchequer. It has pocketed over a lakh crore rupees, this time from the 3G and BWA spectrum auctions which will certainly help to bring down the ever-increasing fiscal deficit under the level of 5 percent of GDP. 
TRAI has also come-up with a consultation paper on broadband to increase broadband penetration in the country which is seriously legging behind from other developed countries in this space. India, today has just over 8 million broadband connections as against the target of achieving 20 million connections by the end of 2010. But now with the popularity of smart phones and launch of 3G and BWA services, Broadband is likely to get a much-needed boost. 
The Soccer fever has gripped the people around the world and marketers are upbeat on the event to cash-in on the craze in India, too. Indian media which goes extreme sometimes such as in the case of Sania Mirza’s marriage with Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik, did not give adequate coverage to Saina Nehwal who made a hatrick by winning three international badminton titles in just three-weeks and reached the no. 2 spot in international ranking. 
Greater Indian participation, this time in Broadcast Asia speaks of the growing might of Indian companies in the media and entertainment arena. While the entire world is recuperating recession, India is touching new highs in this space and that was clearly visible at the event. 
So keep yourself updated about Indian trends with Cable-Quest! 

—— Lt. Col. (Retd.) K K Sharma

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