Common sense says that when technological advancement can enable greater competition in a market, any rigidities in regulation must be dealt with promptly. Unfortunately, we often see a situation to the contrary. Regulatory ambiguity over IPTV (Internet protocol-based TV)—a service known to have tremendous market potential in India—is restricting competition.
Trai has stated that clauses in the Cable TV Act 1995 make the deployment of this option ‘technically impossible’ as ‘any cable-based service must be accessible to those who don’t have set-top boxes. At the same time, confusions in licensing provisions have had some telecom players jumping into the fray, while stand-alone ISPs are barred.
The point is IPTV will enhance consumers’ choice and producers’ competition along with cable TV and DTH. Those who don’t have set top-boxes will still have options. We hope this is not a case of political protection of certain producer interests.