Telcos, cable operators, ISPs can offer IPTV

Government on Monday issued guidelines for Internet Protocol on Television (IPTV) in the country allowing telecom operators, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and cable operators to offer the service.
   "Telecom Access Service Providers having licence to provide triple play services and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with net worth of more than Rs 100 crore and having permission from the licensor to provide IPTV or any other telecom service provider duly authorised by the department of telecom (DoT) will be able to provide IPTV service under their licences without requiring any further registration," an official statement said.
   "Cable TV operators registered under Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1995 can also provide IPTV services without any further permission,' it added.
   The guidelines have, however, drawn flak from the ISPs Association of India, which questioned the rationale of putting the net worth condition only for the ISPs. "When cable operators have been allowed without any net worth criteria, why ISPs are subjected to Rs 100-crore net worth which most of them cannot meet," ISPAI president Rajesh Charria said. "This would lead to consolidation and monopolization, and the very purpose of allowing of ISP to offer IPTV would fail," he said, adding, only four-five ISPs like Bharti, Reliance, BSNL and MTNL could meet the criteria.
   Telecom licencees and cable operators would, however, be required to give self-certified declaration to I&B Ministry, DoT and TRAI indicating the detail of licence or registration under which they propose to offer IPTV service. The date of commencement of the service, the area being covered and details of network infrastructure should also be included in the self-declaration, it added.

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