Regulators

Trai looks into voice, data over cable

MUMBAI: After having dealt with some of the pressing matters of the broadcast industry, broadcast and telecom regulator has now trained its guns on removing hurdles in implementation of broadband solutions, including looking at ways to deliver voice and data over cable.

On Friday, an industry-regulator panel, under the chairmanship of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) advisor Rajendra Singh, met to discuss the various issues and create a bump-free roadmap for implementation of broadband solutions

The importance of the first meeting of the committee on broadband and telephony over cable TV network could be gauged from the fact that the panel is looking into ways of allowing voice and data over cable.

However, for such technologies to become a reality, nation's cable infrastructure has to be spruced up and from a one-way broadcast medium has to be turned into a two-way interactive medium.

Architectural consideration is of paramount importance and, thus, one of the issued raised was that financial institutions should finance cable operators or any body interested in venturing into this business.

A Trai official, who was part of yesterday’s meeting, told Indiantelevision.com, “The meeting explored various possibilities of making delivery of broadband solutions hassle free. As part of this, the impediments and bottlenecks too were discussed in the first meeting of a panel that is likely to submit its report to the regulator in a month’s time.”

Another issue that came up was that of high customs duty on cable-related equipment. A suggestion from the industry was to have customs duties of broadcast and cable equipment at par with those levied on telecom hardware, which is on the lower side.

The 12 member committee, amongst others, comprises Trai advisors Rakesh Kakkar, A K Bhatnagar and S N Gupta, representatives of cable companies like Siti Cable, InCablenet, Ortel Communication and independent cable ops such as Vickky Chowdhry.

The next meeting of this panel would be held on 21 October in Mumbai. After getting detailed feedback from other members, Trai would compile them in the form of a report.

Telecom-cable operators’ partnership has the potential of increasing not only the penetration of cable TV from the present 61 million homes, but also values-added services and broadband solutions.

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