Inetrnet TV guidelines unveiledSeptember 8th, 2008 - 9:40 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Sep 8 (IANS) The government Monday unveiled guidelines for the rollout of Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) - the delivery of television content through broadband - that will open doors for more investment in this sector. “These guidelines bring clarity on various platforms capable of providing IPTV services, the regulatory provisions and licensing requirements and other issues to encourage stakeholders to launch IPTV,” the information and broadcasting ministry announced here.
The guidelines were announced nearly a fortnight after the cabinet approved a policy framework for regulating IPTV. IPTV would require either a computer and software media player or an IPTV set top box to decode the images in real time.
Under the new guidelines those eligible for providing IPTV include telecom Access Service Providers who have licence to provide triple play services and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with net worth more than Rs.1 billion (around $25 million).
Cable TV operators registered under Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1995 or any other telecom service provider duly authorised by the Department of Telecom will be able to provide IPTV service under their licences without requiring any further registration, the ministry clarified.
However, the telecom licensees and cable operators will be required to give self-certified declaration to the information and broadcasting ministry, department of telecom and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) indicating the detail of licence or registration under which they propose to offer IPTV service, it said.
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.
Internet TV has a huge potential to capture the new net-savvy generation who may like to watch their favourite television programmes without having to put up with cable wires or a direct-to-home (DTH) satellite dish.
Internet TV is not expected to cost more than DTH or cable.
The cabinet decision last month removed the last hurdle in the way of making IPTV popular by making it clear that IPTV providers would get channels from broadcasters as per broadcasters’ rates fixed by TRAI.
Downlinking norms which earlier only allowed broadcasters to share their channels for the cable and DTH platforms have now been amended to include sharing of channels with the IPTV platforms.
State-owned BSNL and MTNL are already providing IPTV services in several cities. Private players like Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications are also eyeing the burgeoning IPTV market.