I&B ministry wants tougher regulation for MSOs and cable operators

Telecom Lead India: I&B Ministry is looking at competition in cable/MSO industry.

Manish Tewari

I&B Ministry, headed by Manish Tewari, has sought views of TRAI over the issue of imposing reasonable restrictions on MSOs and LCOs to prevent monopolistic operations.

Ministry has requested TRAI to provide its recommendations under Section 11 (1) (a).

TRAI is known for successfully regulating the Indian telecom sector.

I&B ministry says MSOs and LCOs are required to be registered with local Post Offices to be able to operate in the permitted areas of registration. However, as per recent amendments in the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Rules 2012, it has become mandatory for MSOs to get registration from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to operate in those areas which are notified for analogue switch off.

The cable TV distribution is virtually monopolized in some states as operation of the entire cable TV network is dominated by a single entity in that state.

At present, there are no restrictions on the issue of accumulation of interest in terms of market share in a City, District, State or country by individual MSOs and LCOs in the cable sector.

MSOs and LCOs are free to operate in any areas of their choice after obtaining registration from the ministry. Such monopolies may not be in the interest of consumers and may have serious implications in terms of competition, pricing and healthy growth of cable TV sector in that market.

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