I&B Ministry asks TRAI to provide recommendations

The government is taking steps to stem the creeping tide of monopolies in the broadcasting sector — both in cable network operations and with regards to cross-media holdings, seeking advice from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has asked the TRAI to provide recommendations on the measures that it needs to take. “In order to ensure fair competition, improved quality of service, and equity, should any restriction be imposed on MSOs/LCOs [multi-system and local cable operators respectively] to prevent monopolies/accumulation of interest? If yes, what restrictions should be imposed and what should be the form, nature and scope of such restrictions?” it asked. The Ministry asked the TRAI to suggest what amendments needed to be made in the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act of 1995 and its Rules.

“It has been observed that the cable TV distribution is virtually monopolised in some States as operation of the entire cable TV network is dominated by a single entity in that State,” said the Ministry in a statement on Thursday.

At present, there are no restrictions on how much market share individual players can hold in the cable sector, whether in a particular city, district or State.