Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Regulations must support Digitisation

Digitalisation has become the main focus of the government now. TRAI has reacted to I&B Ministry’s comments on its earlier recommendations of the sunset dates and still feels that digitalization in the country can be implemented by December 2013. It is not so much setting the dates that will make us achieve the target, it is making supporting regulations that will encourage digitalization. 
The fact is that deferring the implementation in 2003, after making the law was the biggest mistake of the Government. We all know that it was done for political motives just before the elections but the damage it has done to the psyche of the MSOs and Cable operators has dissuaded them from investing more on up-gradation of technology. Now only thoughtful, encouraging and a firm regulation can make the process to move forward at desired speed. Any regulation made for the purpose should focus more on consumers than anything else because, if consumers accept digitalization in the right perspective, half the battle will be won. 

The ministry has also given its verdict on uplinking and downlinking recommendations submitted by TRAI. It is good to see that the the government wants to encourage smaller players by keeping the company net- worth caps low. Also making a mandatory provision for providing a bank guarantee before registering a channel will keep the non-serious players away. 
TRAI must ensure that proper implementation of CAS with digitalization takes place all over the country We need one regulation to regulate the pay channels delivery on all digital platforms without any discrimination. 
DTH appears to be growing faster, it is only because Cable TV is being neglected by the regulator restricting the CAS enabled networks in only a part of the four metros unlike the DTH which has the whole market to expend. 
The 2G scam has taken a dirty twist, taking the blame back to the times of Dayanidhi Maran, when he was the Telecom Minister. It is alleged that the policy changes, which encouraged 2G scam were made during his time. Anyways, the Maran brothers have always been in controversy over their overpowering interest in monopolizing the broadcast market in Tamilnadu. 
Cricket season is on. It is encouraging to see high definition transmissions making entry into the common Indian households. Proliferation of HDTV technology expected during Commonwealth Games has finally taken off with cricket. Every DTH player is introducing more and more HD channels. Not only DTH, even digital cable networks like ICC in Pune have launched their HD and Broadband services last month. 
This is the time for industry events. We saw Cabsat in Dubai and BES Expo in Delhi last month. This month, we will have two major events namely, Convergence India in Delhi and CCBN in China. CASBAA Convention will also be held this month. Cable Quest will be present at all these events. Hope to meet you in the shows.

—— Lt. Col. (Retd.) K K Sharma

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