I&B minister Manish Tewari wants TRAI to check monopoly in cable market

Telecom Lead India: Information and Broadcasting minister Manish Tewari wants TRAI to come up with measures to check monopoly in the cable market.

The development is significant as India is set to begin the phase II of cable digitization and is targeting 38 cities in 15 States on 31 March 2013.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari

On October 31, India switched off analogue cable television networks in India’s three metros — Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. Chennai, India’s fourth metro, got five-day extension to achieve 100 percent digitization.

“I have requested the ministry to make a reference to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) as to how do we ensure that monopolies do not continue to subsist in the market as we go forth into digitization between now and 2014,” said Information and Broadcasting minister Manish Tewari.

The industry feels that certain players are dominating the Multi System Organizations (MSOs) category in states like Punjab.

“Essentially this is not about Punjab or about any state. I think the issue is very germane. When you are trying to create a transparent architecture which empowers the consumer, I think in the process of empowerment, it is also essential that they need to have a wider choice in terms of operators that they could choose from,” he said.

“There are similar provisions with regard to sectoral caps in telecom, even when we do the radio auction, we mandate such cap,” he added.

The minister said that he had asked TRAI to look into monopolies whether they existed at a local, state or regional level and also into other related gamut of issues.

Recently, the I&B ministry started working on a communication campaign to target the specific needs of 38 cities of Phase II. It was emphasized that a meticulous planning of the Phase II cities is essential incorporating learnings from Phase I cities.

Moreover, the ministry has planned a one day workshop in the month of November to prepare an integrated plan of action for a smooth and flawless transition in Phase II cities.

The I&B ministry had earlier written to the Chief Secretaries of the Phase II States to nominate a Nodal Officer from each State as well as from each targeted city so that a close liaison and coordination could be made with the Nodal Officers to sort out local issues.

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