Television

Trai sees possible private play in terrestrial TV

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NEW DELHI: The Telecom regulatory Authority of India today released a consultation paper on private terrestrial TV broadcasting service, indicating that the sector could be thrown open to private participation.

The consultation paper covers the issues relating to allowing private broadcasters in the field of terrestrial television broadcasting.

Pointing out that though in India terrestrial broadcasting has been the prerogative of national broadcaster Doordarshan, Trai has said in most developed countries in the world, terrestrial TV broadcasting is "not exclusively reserved for the public service broadcasters." Even in developing countries, private terrestrial television broadcast services are common.

Terrestrial television is the traditional method of television broadcast signal delivery. In India, at present, even though there are more than 100 television channels available on cable television networks, terrestrial television broadcasting remains in the exclusive domain of Doordarshan under Prasar Bharati.

The purpose of this consultation paper is to generate discussion on the appropriate policy and licensing framework for the introduction of private terrestrial television broadcast service in India.

Given the developed status of the cable/satellite services, it is not clear whether there would be sufficient private interest. Therefore, after considering the inputs, TRAI would either give its recommendation or go in for a more detailed consultation process.

The specific issues posed for consultation have been put together in Chapter-6, Trai has said, adding that details on this process could be had from its site, www.trai.gov.in.

Meanwhile, the regulator also announced that it proposes to hold Open House Discussions on the subject in May, 2005.

The Delhi session would be held on 16 March, while the Mumbai event is slated for 18 March.

All interested agencies / individuals are invited to participate in the process. The consultation paper is available on the TRAI's website.

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