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I&B Minister reiterates plan to rein in cable monopolies, says Trai recommendations on way

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NEW DELHI: The government appears serious in reining in monopolistic tendencies in cable TV distribution. The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has reiterated that it wants the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to examine monopolistic practices in the distribution segment of the broadcasting sector.

In a letter to Trai on 16 May, the ministry had asked for regulatory recommendations on the specific issues of vertical integration within the various segments in the broadcasting sector. This was done as more and more broadcasting companies were venturing into various distribution platforms including cable TV, DTH and IPTV and many companies owning distribution platforms were entering into television broadcasting.

I&B Minister Manish Tewari told Parliament on Monday that the ministry is awaiting recommendations from Trai.
Tewari had in November observed that monopolies will kill the entire purpose of cable TV digitisation, which is to give more choice to the customers. Digitisation will provide several tangible benefits to customers including picture quality, freedom of choice and value added services, which will make it interactive.

Trai has also been asked to look into the issue of horizontal integration wherein companies have control/ownership across print, TV and radio (cross media ownership).

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