Television

Cable industry seeks recognition as part of IT industry

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MUMBAI: The cable industry, represented by the Cable Operators Federation of India, Cable Network Association and the National Cable and Telecommunication Association has put forth its own wish list for Budget 2003-4.



(i) Right of Way - Even after 12 years of existence of the industry, there is no policy on "right of way", i.e. authority to use electric or telephone poles to lay cables at a reasonable rental amount. Every state at present charges arbitrarily and some big business houses influence these state agencies not to give rights to last mile operators to create their monopolies. 



(ii) Stealing of Cable TV Signals - Stealing of Cable TV signals by unscrupulous people to get a free access has not been made a cognisable offence. 



(iii) Entertainment Tax - Entertainment tax levied on subscribers differs drastically in different states for the same channels. This should be rationalised by central government and a limit should be exercised in this. 



(iv) Entry Fee for Broadcasters - All broadcasters broadcasting in the country must be made to pay an entry fee to the government. In particular the pay channels who charge a hefty sum from the subscribers must pay this fee so that government has control on their entry in India. 



(v) Recognition as Infrastructure Industry - Cable Television industry must be given the status of infrastructure industry as part of IT industry as it is only Cable TV networks that can carry broadband signals, the future base of information technology. 



(vi) Financial Base - Financial institutions should be encouraged to provide financial help to Cable Operators for upgradation of networks and installation of new technologies like CAS. 



(vii) Technical Training - Technical Training Institutes like the ITIs, should include Cable TV and Broadband training in their courses to create a well trained work force for better functioning of the industry. 



(viii) Custom Duties - Custom duties on CAS equipment and related equipment for headends should be eliminated to enable affordable upgradation of networks.

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