TRAI rules out minimum net worth for operators

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Monday said that there was no need for fixing a minimum entry-level net worth for Multi-System Operators (MSOs) in Cable TV Services. The regulator said that at present, any individual, company, corporate firm or LLP that fulfilled provisions of the Cable TV Rules can be granted Multi-System Operator registration.

A few stakeholders, including broadcasters, their associations and a few MSOs, have been prescribing an entry-level minimum net worth for the MSOs.

These stakeholders contended that MSO business, being capital intensive, required considerable funds to create basic infrastructure.

On the contrary, quite a few other stakeholders have suggested that there was no need to define the net worth for MSOs as it would help only the established businesses.

These stakeholders believe that cable TV business has run successfully for nearly three decades and stabilised, and introducing new norms may unsettle the established, self-funded business model adopted by most MSOs. “India has more than 1,000 operational MSOs, which is quite large a number. Yet, given the size of the country, there is ample scope for further development and expansion of the sector,” Trai said.

The country’s telecoms regulator  added that a minimum net worth criterion or entry could discourage the growth of smaller MSOs in far-flung areas, which in turn may hinder the incubation and growth of local and regional channels.