Trai withdraws paper on IPTV

NEW DELHI: In view of divergent and contradictory view from broadcasting and telecom industry, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is set to withdraw a consultation paper on IPTV that it had issued some time back.

Though this can be viewed as a small victory for the broadcasting and cable community, which was resisting pressure from telecom companies to take IPTV out of the ambit of Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act.

The decision of Trai, which was seeking opinion of the industry on IPTV at an open house today in Delhi, also means that it would not be submitting any recommendations to the government on this particular consultation paper.

However, the step is being seen a “positive one” that would facilitate inclusion of IPTV and even mobile TV in a Broadcast Bill that the government was proposing to bring in, Indusind Media and Communication Ltd executive director corporate services and MSO alliance president Ashok Mansukhani said.

In its consultation paper, Trai had asked whether it’s feasible to take IPTV out of the purview of the Cable TV Act and have separate licensing norms for it for its growth.

The basic intention behind the proposed amendments in the Cable Television (Regulation) Act, 1995 was to keep the IPTV service outside the definition of `cable services’.

Today’s development notwithstanding, the regulator played down the issue. “The chairman has indicated that probably the consultation paper needs to be revised. We would take a final decision soon,” a Trai official told in the evening.

The consultation paper on IPTV had drawn varied comments from stakeholders with broadcasters and MSOs saying IPTV should not be separated from cable TV and laws regulating it.

On the other hand, the likes of Internet Service Providers’ Association of India and telecom companies wanting a slice of IPTV had pitched for separating it from cable services.

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