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Broadband Connectivity Through Cable TV Network To Strengthen Fixed Line Network Infrastructure In India

Provisioning of broadband services through the already established Cable TV Networks will be a big help in strengthening the fixed line network infrastructure in India, Information and Broadcasting Secretary Amit Khare said.

Addressing a conference to discuss the issues related to provision of Broadband connectivity through Cable TV Networks,  Khare said that at present out of roughly 30 crore households in India, around 19 crore households have television connection, approximately 10 crore of which have connection provided through Cable TV Network. He said that a wide market is thus readily available for provisioning internet connectivity through the vast network of Cable TV networks. He stressed that all policies of the government should emanate after taking into consideration the concerns of the people who actually have to implement it – in this case the Cable TV Operators – for ensuring which this conference had been called.

Speaking on the occasion, TRAI chairman R S Sharma said that at present, only 7 percent of internet connectivity in India is through fixed line network while the global average of the same is around 46 percent.

Provisioning of broadband services through the already established Cable TV Networks will be a big help in strengthening the fixed line network infrastructure.

On the issue of payment of 8 percent Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) as fee to Department of Telecommunications (DoT) – whether it should be paid only in respect of broadband services or on overall revenue generated in both businesses, TRAI Chairman gave the example of South Korea which has given exemption from AGR and has 93 percent internet connectivity at present through fixed line connections.

Khare acknowledged the issues rose with regards to licensing, right of way, technology and AGR. He assured the MSOs that the government will not impose any specific technology to be adopted by the MSOs for bringing to fruition provisioning of broadband services through Cable TV network.

On the issue of AGR, he said that both businesses are separate and only that part of revenue should be taxed which is coming from taxable services. Above all, he thanked the MSOs for expressing interest in this endeavor and said that he will make all possible efforts to take the recommendations forward.

After a brief presentation by George Kuruvilla, CMD, BECIL detailing the technical modifications involved in joint provision of the two services, the floor was thrown open to the participating representatives of MSOs. The participants, while expressing keenness on the proposal, expressed a wide gamut of issues and practical difficulties faced by them on a day-to-day basis.

The Conference, which was also attended by SK Gupta, Secretary, TRAI, Jayashree Mukherjee, Addl. Secretary, Ministry of I and B and other senior officials of Ministry of I and B, ended with a Vote of Thanks by Ms. Anju Nigam, Joint Secretary, Ministry of I and B, witnessed wide participation of leading MSOs from across the length and breadth of the country.― United News Of India

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