TRAI Wants To Destroy Cable TV Monopoly In India; Seeks Viewers’ Opinions

Stakeholders are to submit comments by 22 November.

TRAI is seeking feedback from various stakeholders on cable TV services in the country and has issued a consultation paper for the same.

Issues With Monopoly

It is looking to regulate the market structure/ competition in Cable TV services across the country in particular.

The issues it is concerned with include monopoly, market dominance and competition in the sector.

The government wants to take another look at the recommendations the telecom regulator made in 2013 on monopoly or market dominance in cable TV services.

Unfair Advantage In Certain States

This came about after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting decided to pose restrictions on multi-system operators (MSO) and local cable operators as cable TV distribution was monopolised in some states.

The issue is more apparent in states like Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Orissa, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh which have only one or two dominant players.

In comparison, states like Delhi, Karnataka, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Maharashtra have many MSOs.

Revision Of Regulations After 8 Years

Eight years on, the media and entertainment (M&E) sector has seen several changes especially with the arrival of new digital technologies.

That is the reason the ministry has asked the regulator to provide a new set of recommendations in the matter.

The consultation paper has raised 25 issues, some of them being:

  • Assessment of competition level in the sector
  • Need to regulate monopoly
  • Entry barriers 
  • Methods of measuring level of competition or market share
  • Evaluating the impact of new technological developments and alternate services like video streaming services

Corrective Measures

Some of the measures that could be taken include limiting their area of operation or setting restrictions on subscriber base to prevent monopoly.

Stakeholders are to submit comments by 22 November and any counter comments should be submitted by 6 December.

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