India's regulator eyes overhaul of cable TV industry

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has recommended a separate licensing framework for local cable operators and multi system operators, in its draft recommendations to restructure cable television services, a Reuters report said.

India's cable television industry, which covered 78 million households at the end of 2007, is facing challenges of technology, resources and fragmented distribution, leading the regulator to examine possibilities of restructuring, the Reuters report also said.

The draft recommendations include an entry fee for different areas of operations, a five-year license fee and encourages advance transmission technology, a Reuters report said.

There is also fierce competition to existing conventional cable TV operators from those who use advance distribution technologies like DTH , HITS (Head end in the sky) and IPTV, Trai added.

Dish TV India and Tata Sky compete in India's DTH market, with mobile phone operators Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications also planning their entry over the next few months, the

Trai, which says absence of licensing and regulation frame work could slow future development, also encourages voluntary CAS which allows viewers to select pay channels.