The Government is planning to introduce a new category of licence that will enable cable TV players and DTH operators to offer broadband services in the country. To be called Cable TV Internet Service Providers licence, it will be part of the broadband policy being formulated by the Telecom Ministry.

Under the existing policy, operators with either the unified licence or an ISP licence are allowed to offer broadband services. While some of the cable TV players have taken ISP licence, the broadband policy of 2004 had permitted cable TV players to become franchisees of telecom companies. However, this has not found many takers.

There are 100 million homes with cable TV connection of which 20 million are digital. In addition, there are 56 million DTH homes. This is more than the fixed line telephony subscriber base. “We are looking at how to use the cable TV infrastructure to push broadband penetration. A separate licence can be given with incentives,” said a senior DoT official.