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India moves to unify broadband services

Posted: 17 Aug 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:telecom? wireline? wireless? network?

India's Telecom Regulatory Authority has adopted a unified licensing regime that would allow individual service providers to offer a package of voice, Internet access, cable and broadcast television as well as radio broadcasts.

The challenge for providers will be developing the technology necessary to supply bundled services.

In a supplementary note released on August 9, 2004 and designed to clarify its position on the issue, the agency said multiple services could be offered via wireline or wireless networks. However, content will continue to be regulated by the country's information and broadcasting ministry. The clarification puts India on the road to technology convergence, observers said. India's telecommunications ministry said earlier that with telephony and broadcasting technology increasingly overlapping, it would be possible for some service providers to offer both for the first time.

Currently, India's media landscape is fragmented into separate communication and broadcast services. Though cable TV operators are allowed to provide telecom services, they are still being provided by independent companies, including some government-owned providers. Some cable operators have started offering broadband services, but the market for these services remains small.

Still, the Indian market is seeing explosive growth in connectivity, and major providers are gearing up to provide multiple services.

The telecom authority said some stakeholders have asked for more time to offer their views on the unified licensing regime. Hence, the department has extended the comment period until Aug. 31.

- K.C. Krishnadas

EE Times

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