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Trai to control pay channel rates
January 09, 2004 19:46 IST
With the conditional access system controversy continuing unabated, the government on Friday asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to regulate cable and broadcast industry to protect the interest of consumers.
Although the formal convergence of telecom, IT and broadcasting ministries is yet to take place, the government placed the cable and broadcasting sector under telecommunication service for the purpose.
The appointment of the regulator came in the face of constant fights between the stakeholders -- broadcasters, multi-service operators and Cable operators -- which led to harassment and blackmail of the consumer.
Announcing the new responsibility for Trai chairman Pradip Baijal, the government said: "In the absence of a regulator, many issues between various stakeholders in the broadcasting sector have remained undecided and this has in turn affected the interests of consumers.
"This has also impeded the steady growth of the broadcasting sector," it said in a statement.
The notification comes amid uncertainty on the continuance of CAS, which has been mired in one controversy after another.
With the government having earlier indicated its willingness to consider withdrawl of this system even as cable operators and MSOs are crying foul over the investment already made into the system, the announcement of a regulator is expected to resolve several issues plaguing successful CAS roll out in South Delhi.
Major issues which the new regulator will monitor include pay channel prices -- a longstanding demand of the cable industry -- and regulation of advertising on pay channels.
Among the parameters Trai will regulate include technological improvement in service by stakeholders, ensuring compliance of terms and conditions of licence, ensuring technical compatibility and inter-connection between different service providers and regulating revenue sharing arrangements in broadcasting and cable services.
The regulator will make recommendations on measures to facilitate competition and promote efficiency in the operation of broadcasting services to facilitate their growth.