Television

Cable consumers must have multiple options: Baijal

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MUMBAI: It was on Wednesday that the Telecom Authority of India (TRAI) chairman Pradip Baijal set the cat among the "cable pigeons" when he declared that he was all for the elimination of cable operators' monopolies. Baijal's recipe: possibly "allowing three operators in an area".



Today, Baijal qualified that statement further and said consumers should have multiple options like cable, broadband, DTH and set-top boxes to watch satellite TV channels at home.



"The consumers should have multiple options, DTH is very welcome, as also others like broadband. You can't have one system only, otherwise local monopolies will develop as they have developed now," Baijal was quoted by the Press Trust of India as telling reporters. He was speaking on the sidelines of a TRAI open house discussion on 'Accelerating growth of Internet and broadband', in Bangalore.



Interestingly, if one goes by the PTI report, Baijal has steered away from any mention of more than one cable service provider competing for customer preference in an area. What he seems to be saying is that the consumer should have a choice of platforms that he can access through which he can get his daily dose of television. If that is the case, there is unlikely to be any opposition from the cable fraternity on this matter.



The report quotes Baijal as saying the cable TV industry needs to be lauded for the spurt in satellite TV channels in an unregulated environment. However, there was a need for a regulator in the light of the in creasing disputes among the industry players, he has been quoted as saying.



"Implementing the regulations is a problem, but world over, the telecom regulator regulates this (broadcast)," the report quotes him as saying.

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