Trai raises possibility of private firms in terrestrial broadcasting

New Delhi, Feb 25 | Updated: Feb 26 2005, 06:36am hrs
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has thrown open a debate on whether private TV firms should be allowed to enter terrestrial broadcasting. Currently, only state broadcaster Prasar Bharatis Doordarshan is permitted terrestrial broadcasting. In the rural and remote areas where cable/satellite television hasnt reached yet, only terrestrial TV has been able to penetrate. Terrestrial TV is the traditional method of broadcast signal delivery.

The total TV connectivity in the country is over 90 million, while there are only about 45 million cable TV homes. The remaining TV households have terrestrial connections.

In a consultation paper issued on Friday, Trai has covered various issues relating to allowing private broadcasters in the field of terrestrial television. According to Trai, in almost all the developed countries in the world, terrestrial TV broadcasting is not exclusively reserved for public service broadcasters. Even in developing countries, private terrestrial television broadcast services are common, it has stressed.

The purpose of the consultation paper is to generate discussion on the appropriate policy and licensing framework for introducing private terrestrial television broadcast service in India.

However, the regulator has pointed out that given the developed status of the cable/satellite services, it is not clear whether there would be sufficient private interest.

Trai has sought industry inputs on the issue by March 31. After considering the inputs, Trai would either give its recommendation or go in for a more detailed consultation process.