Imagine that you got all your favourite television programmes without having to put up with pesky cable wires or a direct-to-hone (DTH) satellite dish.
With the Union Cabinet okaying guidelines for internet protocol television (IPTV), this is set to become a reality. What’s more, it won’t cost you more than DTH or cable.
IPTV, simpy put, is television content delivered through broadband internet rather than the traditional wiring or satellite dishes. Often, IPTV is bundled with internet access services.
The big stumbling block so far had been IPTV service providers alleging that broadcasters were charging them more than they were from DTH or cable providers, therefore making their services too costly.
The Cabinet decision makes it clear that IPTV providers would get channels from broadcasters as per broadcasters’ rates fixed by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
“The guidelines will bring clarity on the parameters in which such service providers work,” said Information and Broadcasting Minister PR Dasmunshi. A ministry official said he expected television charges to drop.
Roop Sharma, president of Cable Operators Federation, said: “It would usher in more competition and increase the consumer base.”
State-run Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) already provide IPTV in select cities, whereas Bharati Airtel and Reliance would offer their services soon.
Sources said India’s 40 million landline connections — which can deliver IPTV — ensured a bright future for the service.