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I and B seeks TRAI view on MSO-LCO monopolies

Posted on Dec 14, 02:47PM | IBNS

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Friday sought views of TRAI on the measures to prevent monopolistic operations by Multi System Operators (MSOs) and Local Cable Operators (LCOs).

The Ministry has requested TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) to provide its recommendations under Section 11 (1) (a).

The Ministry has sought the advice on whether any restriction should be imposed on MSOs/LCOs to prevent monopolies/accumulation of interest, in order to ensure fair competition, improved quality of service, and equity.

It has also asked TRAI to recommend on the form, nature and scope of such restrictions.

Suggestions on amendments required in the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) 1995 Act and Rules are also invited by the Ministry.

The MSOs and LCOs are required to be registered with local Post Offices to be able to operate in the permitted areas of registration.

However, as per recent amendments in the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Rules 2012, it has become mandatory for MSOs to get registration from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to operate in those areas which are notified for analogue switch off.

But the Ministry has observed that the cable TV distribution is virtually monopolized in some states, as operation of the entire cable TV network is dominated by a single entity in that state.

At present, there are no restrictions prevailing on the issue of accumulation of interest in terms of market share in a city, district, state or country by individual MSOs and LCOs in the Cable Sector, making them free to operate in any area(s) of their choice, after obtaining registration from the Ministry.

The I and B Ministry has felt that such monopolies might hamper the interest of consumers and may have serious implications in terms of competition, pricing and healthy growth of cable TV sector in that market.

Earlier, the Ministry had made a reference to TRAI on May 16 of this year, to examine and recommend measures to address issues of cross media restrictions and safeguards.