TRAI to hold open house in Bengaluru on monopoly/market dominance in cable TV services

NEW DELHI: Stakeholders in the cable TV services have a platform to voice their opinion. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has announced an open house to be held in Bengaluru on issues relating to monopoly and market dominance in cable TV services. 

TRAI sources told that only one open house is planned on the subject, based on the responses received. 

Earlier, stakeholders had been given a final opportunity to give their comments by 1 July to its consultation paper on the subject issued on 3 June, and counter-comments by 8 July. The open house will be on 16 July.

The paper was aimed at wanting to know if stakeholders agreed that the state should be the relevant market for measuring market power in the cable TV sector or suggest alternatives. 

In the first place, TRAI which said it had issued the paper at the instance of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, wanted to know if stakeholders agreed that there is a need to address the issue of monopoly or market dominance in cable TV distribution and how its ill effects can be addressed.

The paper contained a series of fifteen questions touching various aspects. TRAI has sought to know whether curbing market dominance and monopolistic trends as well as restrictions in the relevant cable TV market should be based on area of operation or based on market share.

Those who support the area of operation option need to specify how the area of relevant market ought to be divided amongst MSOs for providing cable TV service. While those who feel that the monopolistic trends should be based on market share, should specify the threshold value of market share beyond which an MSO cannot be allowed to build market share on its own. The open house will also concentrate on devising ways of achieving this in a market where a MSO already possess market share beyond the threshold value. Furthermore, TRAI also wants comments on the suitability of the rules defined in the paper in this connection. 

Stakeholders had to give their views about the threshold value increase indicated by the regulator, or suggest defining restrictions.

TRAI also wanted to know if ‘control‘ of an entity over other MSOs/LCOs be decided according to the conditions mentioned in the paper or suggestion on alternatives. Stakeholders wanting different restrictions to curb market dominance have been asked to suggest these. 

TRAI has apart from this, sought to know whether the parameters listed by it in the paper are adequate with respect to mandatory disclosures for effective monitoring and compliance of restrictions on market dominance in Cable TV sector, and the periodicity of such disclosures. 

The regulator wanted to know of any amendments to be made in the statutory rules/ executive orders for implementing the restrictions.

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