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IPTV: Taking by storm


IPTV is in contention. Whether it is from a business perspective or from a regulatory point of view, this new technology has created quite a storm.

Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is a service where the customer can get digital TV signals (voice, data and video) through their landline telephone connections, rather than the traditional method of cable lines.

Well, this technology is considered a threat to DTH, conditional access system (CAS) and the cable TV industry and just remember, it is not television over the internet.

Right now, the telecom sector and the cable industry are involved in a slugfest over who can provide this service. Telecom players such as BSNL and MTNL have already launched IPTV on the grounds that the universal access service license (UASL) permits this service. Other service providers such as Reliance Communications, Bharti Airtel and HFCL Infotel are also slated to launch IPTV services soon.

Not wanting to lose ground to telecos, the cable industry is demanding the inclusion of IPTV under the Cable TV Act. At the same time, the cable TV industry has also warned the government that unless the regulatory and policy issues for this sector are addressed, telecom operators will have a free run and introduce over 3,000 unauthorised television channels, which content cannot be controlled by the government.

The Indian government has finally decided to form inter ministerial group (IMG) to formulate a policy and regulatory framework on IPTV to remove ambiguities surrounding the services. But the slugfest between telecos and cablecos isn’t just over regulation. That’s one side of the story.

Both segments see huge potential in IPTV over the near future and the fight is to grab a part of this pie.

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