Casbaa says India risks TV litigation

Casbaa’s special India Forum, which took place earlier this week in New Delhi, saw some delegates express anxiety that India’s planned digitisation scheme could become bogged down in litigation.

There were also grumbles that India’s recent budget had done nothing to benefit the cable industry by means of lowering duties on set-top boxes, or encouraging local industry to manufacture boxes.

The general feeling was that the scheme could be accomplished, but that the government and regulator needed to also play their part and “get their act together” and keep to their scheduled key dates as well as speed up responses to questions posed by the industry. India’s four main cities have to complete their conversions by June 30th.

The regulator was targeted with specific complaints: for example, it is as yet unclear whether existing licence holders would need to obtain fresh licences. Multi-System Operators Alliance president Ashok Mansukhani was a vocal critic, and asked why the regulator was still sending out consultation papers when the first date (June 30) was now so close.

Hathway Cable’s CEO K Jayraman said things will work if (regulator) TRAI gets its work done. He said 10 million STBs were needed for the first phase, and 20 million for the second phase. He felt that there was still time for the industry to fight for fiscal incentives.

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