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MSOs, LCOs working towards increasing broadband reach: I&B

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NEW DELHI: Officials in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry said that several multi-system operators (MSOs) and local cable operators (LCOs) were already helping in increasing the reach of broadband throughout the country.

However, these officials told Indiantelevision.com that they were unaware of any approach to the Ministry by the Department of Telecom (DoT) to seek the help of MSOs and LCOs for this purpose.

They agreed that using LCOs would help as this segment had the last mile connectivity all over the country. In any case, it was felt that MSOs and LCOs - being private businesses - could be approached directly by the DoT.

It was stated by LCO and MSO sources that several LCOs were already involved in the business of broadband penetration in addition to television. Furthermore some MSOs and LCOs already had licences for this purpose. One MSO said that the DoT had in fact already devised different categories of licensing for such purposes.

The Broadband Policy 2004 had also suggested that cable TV network be used as a franchisee network of the service provider for provisioning broadband services, the official added.

Some MSOs and LCOs have held a meeting with DoT in this connection, and sought certain facilities. 

The government plans to provide broadband connectivity across the country and it has to work on many fronts, the official said adding that one is National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN), which will cover villages, and the other will be to ensure Internet connectivity in cities and small towns.

The government plans to utilise Universal Service Obligation Fund to provide incentives to ensure coverage in such areas through viability gap funding, DoT officials said. 

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