MSO flat fee a hurdle, says CTMA while backing TRAI & WB's underground cable

MSO flat fee a hurdle, says CTMA while backing TRAI & WB's underground cable


MUMBAI: The West Bengal government is preparing to build an underground network of cable TV lines in an attempt to keep the city clean, a state minister has said. Urban development minister Firhad Hakim said, in New Town, they had done it and would start soon in Bidhannagar. In Kolkata, they would as early as possible start a pilot project for underground laying of cable TV lines.

It was part of a plan by the chief minister Mamata Banerjee who wants the city to look more beautiful without wires, Hakim said while inaugurating a three-day Cable TV Show 2017 from 4 January 4 -- the 20th annual show arranged by the Kolkata-based Cable TV Equipment Traders & Manufacturers Association (CTMA).

Over 10,000 cable operators, manufacturers, traders, channel partners, broadcasters, distributors, and multi-system operators (MSOs) from India and abroad are participating in the show.

CTMA secretary K K Binani said the plan would minimise possibilities of outside disturbances in connectivity as sometimes wires get damaged during calamities. The industry body said that flat licence fees for multi-system operators had become an entry barrier for small entrepreneurs.

Cable TV Show 2017 Kolkata, one of the biggest shows on satellite and cable television & broadband in India, was flagged off at the Netaji Indoor Stadium. Hakim inaugurated the event in the presence of minister-in-charge, housing & youth affairs, West Bengal, Aroop Biswas. There are 20 pavilions and 70 stalls erected this year for showcasing a wide range of state-of-the-art products and services related to the cable industry.

CTMA treasurer & chairman -exhibition Pawan Jajodia said, with the steady digitization of cable television sector and the Digital India campaign, the scope and importance of Cable Television (CATV) had increased manifold. The CATV sector had come a long way to become an organised sector and one that was an important player in promoting digitalisation through the spread of broadband Internet services.

This event has been sponsored by Darkhorse, and Euro Digital is the co-sponsor. Aishwarya Technologies, Inno Instrument, Globetek Infoway, RailTel, Meghbala, Cloudsky Broadband are associate sponsors.

Binani said that digitisation of delivery of Cable TV service through set-top box was now in its final and crucial lap as the whole of India would be covered in Phase IV by 31 March 2017. The digital-delivery-enabled networks were now ready to be taken to the next level of delivering value-added services such as broadband internet service, movies on demand, games, pay per view channels, and education etc.

Binani added that cable TV sector was ready for some sweeping transformation under regulatory intervention. The draft tariff order under consultation by TRAI would bring the addressable services from all delivery platforms such as HITS, MSO, DTH and IPTV under common regulation. The viewer might pay for only the channels that he wished to view/subscribe. Pay channel broadcasters would have to announce a genre and MRP for each of the channels. They must provide channels on terms universal to all delivery platforms. This would make the entry of new entrants feasible. Carriage fee was also proposed to be regulated, Binani said.

CTMA president Rajesh Doshi said that digitisation has been a game-changer that has transformed the cable sector. The number of licenses issued for downlinking satellite channels into the country crossed 850 channels and the viewer was spoiled for choice with most of the MSOs providing 400 plus channels covering a wide genre and languages. The Cable TV networks in India were ready to play a significant role in helping Internet penetration across India, Doshi added.