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Ministry of I&B Wants TRAI Views On Preventing MSOs & LCOs Monopolies

India's ministry of Information and Broadcasting has sought the views of the telecom regulator TRAI, on measures to prevent monopolistic operations of cable operators in India, both Local Cable Operators (LCOs) and Multi System Operators (MSOs, which aggregate LCOs). The intent here is to ensure that cable TV distribution in a state is not monopolised by a single cable operator, and consider "the issue of accumulation of interest in terms of market share in a City, District, State or country by individual MSOs and LCOs in the Cable Sector." Why This Is Important This has implications for the distribution of wireline Internet services because, quite often, Local Cable Operators or MSO's are franchisees of ISPs and provide Internet services. LCO's typically have neighborhood monopolies, or limited competition, which leaves customers at their mercy, without adequate choice; I remember instances of LCO's cutting each others wires to try and put the other out of business. DTH services have challenged these neighborhood monopolies of cable servicesbut consumers don't have enough choice for Internet Services. WiMAX implementations are few and far between, and getting the right of way to lay cable has been too expensive. There has been no unbundling of the last mile, in case of BSNL and MTNL, thus limiting consumer choice. While we don't know what the TRAI will recommend, but the breaking of LCO and MSO monopolies is going to lead to a strange situation: it will lead to fragmentation among cable operators and MSOs, and also create an unusual situation…

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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