To boost reach, I&B Ministry plans policies for ‘broadband-ready’ cable infrastructure

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on January 12, 2021 Published on January 12, 2021

The Ministry may also look at bringing in measures to grant infrastructure status to the broadcasting sector

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry is looking at bringing in policy measures to enable the country to transition towards broadband-ready cable infrastructure and boost domestic production of set-top boxes.

The Ministry, which is in the process of finalising the National Broadcast Policy, may also look at bringing in measures to grant infrastructure status to the broadcasting sector.

According to sources, the government will look at outlining measures to grant infrastructure status to mass-manufactured equipment such as set-top-boxes and digital radio receivers and other components used for broadcasting distribution services in the National Broadcast Policy. It will also look at outlining policy measures to support domestic production of STBs and consumer premises equipment to reduce import dependency.

In December, senior Ministry officials had said that they would soon be finalising the draft version of the National Broadcast Policy.

The proposed measures in the draft policy include publishing of standards for the manufacture of broadband-enabled STBs, in collaboration with Bureau of Indian Standards.

The I&B Ministry is expected to work with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and Ministry of Commerce to bring in regulatory measures to promote the domestic manufacturing of STBs and consumer premise equipment, sources said.


Meanwhile, the government may also look at measures to remove roadblocks to facilitate cable service providers to leverage on their infrastructure to provide broadband widely in the country. In addition, upgradation of existing infrastructure to enable broadband-ready cable infrastructure, is expected to be among the key policy measures in the proposed National Broadcast Policy

Sources said that the Ministry is in the process of consultations with Prasar Bharati, Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, and Ministry of Science and Technology, before the National Broadcast Policy is finalised.

Karan Taurani, Vice-President, Elara Capital, said that increased focus towards broadband penetration will enable the growth of digital and OTT video consumption segment. He said granting of infrastructure status to broadcast just like the telecom sector will attract more investments in this space. “TV penetration has breached 75 per cent, and the incremental growth will come from hybrid boxes (providing both digital and TV content) for which investments will need to scale up,” he added.

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Published on January 12, 2021
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