Need to revisit licensing framework for broadband, broadcasting & IT sector: Trai's chairman P D Vaghela

Need to revisit licensing framework for broadband, broadcasting & IT sector: Trai's chairman P D Vaghela

Vaghela was addressing a conclave organised by IIT Kanpur and TSDSI.


Mumbai: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) chairman P D Vaghela recently in a conclave said that there is a need to revisit the licensing framework and governance structure of broadband, broadcasting and IT sector,

Vaghela was addressing a conclave organised by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur and Telecommunications Standards Development Society, India (TSDSI).

He remarked that the boundaries between broadcasting and telecom industries have blurred due to the advent of digital media. The revised licensing framework should be light-touch, formulated and the government should intervene only if required.

The chairman highlighted that multiple authorities are involved for permission in the broadcast and telecommunications sector leading to the overlapping of functions. For example, internet protocol television (IPTV) permissions are granted by the department of telecommunications (DoT) as well as the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB). For policy decisions, there are multiple authorities such as DoT, MIB, the ministry of electronics and IT and the department of space.

Vaghela stated that there was a need for redefining the role of market players such as service providers, infrastructure providers and cable operators in the new market structure.

He said, “In addition to telecom and broadcasting, the over-the-top (OTT) world may also have to be factored in while carrying out required reforms. A robust and holistic technology-neutral regulatory and policy framework is required to regulate the newly converged environment of broadcasting and broadband services. The policy should also align the corresponding business processes with regard to the issuance of all broadcasting and cable service licences for better synergy and ease of doing business.”

With technological advancement, it is now possible for broadband networks to offer broadcasting services and vice versa. “With content consumption in India shifting to smartphones and video consumption becoming a key driver of mobile data growth, it becomes imperative to bring direct broadcasting capabilities to mobile phones. It is anticipated that broadcast capable smartphones and mobile phones will be able to stream multiple high-quality video and audio services optimally utilising valuable spectrum and easing the burden on our cellular networks,” he concluded.