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TRAI recommends amendment in Cable Act to enable telecom broadband services

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has today issued its recommendations on Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) back reference dated 19th February 2021 on TRAI’s Recommendations on “Monopoly/Market Dominance in the Cable TV Services dated 26th November 2013.”

  1. MIB vide its letter dated 19th February 2021 has referred back TRAI’s Recommendations on “Monopoly/Market Dominance in the Cable TV Services” dated 26th November 2013. In its above referred letter, MIB has informed TRAI that considerable time has passed since the above-mentioned recommendations were made by TRAI and that the media and entertainment (M&E) landscape has changed drastically, particularly with the advent of new digital technologies in this Therefore, MIB has requested TRAI to provide a fresh set of recommendations in  the matter looking  at  the  subsequent developments/expansion in the M&E sector.
  2. In this regard, TRAI had issued consultation paper on ‘Market Structure/Competition in Cable TV services’ on 25th October 2021 for seeking comments of all the stakeholders. The last date of submission of comments was 22nd November 2021 and counter-comments was 6th December 2021, which were extended up to 6th December 2021 and 20th December 2021 respectively, on request of some stakeholders. TRAI received comments on consultation paper from 70 stakeholders and counter-comments from 7 stakeholders, which are available on TRAI website. In this regard, an Open House Discussion was also held on 27th January 2022 through online mode.
  3. After considering all comments/ counter-comments received from stakeholders during consultation process and further analysis of the issues, the Authority has finalised its recommendations. The salient features of the recommendations are given below:
    (i) In view of sufficient competition in the cable television distribution sector at present, the Authority recommends that there is no need to introduce any additional regulations or take any corrective measures to enhance the level of competition in cable TV distribution sector. However,developments may be monitored and intervention as felt necessary shall be considered at appropriate time.
    The Authority recommends that the Government may take suitable measures to facilitate and promote sharing of cable infrastructure by Local cable operator with Telecom Service Providers to enable last mile for provision of broadband services. The Government may issue necessary amendments to existing rules/ guidelines, to enable use of last mile infrastructure created by cable operator by TSPs for promoting broadband connections.
    The Government may amend the rules under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation), Act 1995 to explicitly indicate the following;

“Cable operators may strive to provide last mile access to Access service providers/ Internet Service Providers in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner for proliferation of broadband services.”

Full text of the recommendations is available on the TRAI’s website trai.gov.in. BCS Bureau

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