CANADA: 50 MBPS INTERNET A 'BASIC SERVICE'
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications C o m m i s s i o n (CRTC) has declared that broadband access Internet service is now considered a basic telecommunications service for all Canadians, similar to a wireline telephone.
Further to its legislative mandate, the CRTC has set the minimum internet speed at 50 Mbps for downloads & 10 Mbps for uploads.
82% of Canadian subscribers already receive this level of service.
BAN ON IN-FLIGHT INTERNET
Since August 2016 Indian authorities have promised air travellers in-flight Wi-Fi access, it remains banned over Indian airspace, for security concerns.
In November 2016, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told the Rajya Sabha "The Department of Telecommunications has already moved a proposal for providing in-flight connectivity for voice, data and video services for consideration of the Committee of Secretaries."
Amendments to the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and Indian Telegraph Rules will be required.
The Civil Aviation ministry and the communications ministry support the change but the homeaffairs ministry, which has responsibility for domestic security, said it hadn't examined the issue.
NO CENSORSHIP OF HOTSTAR & NETFLIX
Replying to an RTI, the I&B ministry has clarified that it does not have the power to censor any content online, and that it is "Not pursuing the creation of a regulatory framework" that would allow them to have any online censorship powers.
India does not have any regulations for censorship of films and TV shows online. In spite of this, large TV-ondemand players like Google Play and iTunes have been censoring all titles on their Indian catalogues.
Netflix's entry in the Indian market was the first time a large streaming company offered both Indian and non-Indian titles uncensored. Hotstar Premium was the second large player to do this, with uncensored shows and films from HBO and 20th Century Fox, among others.
A case was recently filed against Hotstar in the Delhi High Court alleging that the service was streaming "soft porn" - Star India denied this. The High Court has asked the ministry to look into the claims, raising concerns that online censorship regulations might come about as a result.
AIR & DD ARCHIVE CONTENT FOR SALE
Priceless recordings consisting of those of maestros Ustad Bismillah Khan, M S Subbulakshmi, Begum Akhtar, M Balamuralikrishna and epic Ramcharitmanas, among others present with Prasar Bharati archives are now available accross on a counter at Akashwani Bhawan, Parliament Street, New Delhi, as audio CDs, VCDs and DVDs.
The sales counter was inaugurated on 8 December 2016 by S C Panda, CEO Prasar Bharati and F Sheheryar, DG AIR.
NATIONAL COMMUNICATION POLICY PROMISED
On 10 December, the I&B minister M.Venkaiah Naidu promised that the government will soon finalise a National Communication Policy, to enhance access and dissemination of information across the country.
"We are preparing a draft and once the draft is finalised, it will be communicated to all the states. We will be endorsing it at a national-state information ministers' conference," said the minister, speaking at the state information ministers conference (SIMCON).
In September, too, the I&B minister had conveyed this intention, while speaking at the regional editors' conference. There have been no reports on the progress if any since then.
AMAZON PRIME STARTS STREAMING
On 14 Dec, Amazon India launched its 'Prime Video' in India, offering Bollywood blockbusters, Hollywood movies, TV shows, kids' programming and Amazon original series. Available on Google Play Store as of now, it is expected to be available Apple App Store soon.
Amazon Prime video's subscription offers:
♣ Unlimited ad-free streaming
♣ Latest movies & TV shows
Many US TV shows will be available on Prime within a day of telecast, and the selection includes some of 2016's most awarded shows. Original production like Breathe, The Ministry, Powerplay, Mirzapur, Stardust, The Family Man will be available for Indian audiences.
Amazon charges Rs. 40 per month (for its Prime shipping, the video is free!). Compare that to Netflix's middle-rung at Rs. 650/ month and Hotstar's premium services at Rs. 199/month.
BHARATNET: FIBRE REMAINS DARK
With optic f i b r e cables laid to 65,475 g r a m panchayats, C e n t r e ' s BharatNet project seems on track to achieve its 1,00,000 target by March 2017. However, lack of active connectivity is a huge concern.
3 public-sector undertakings: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, RailTel Corporation of India, and Power Grid Corporation of India, as of December 11, have installed 1,50,189 km of optic fibre cable throughout the country.
However only 14,569 gram panchayats across 22 states have active connectivity as on December 6, according to Bharat Broadband Network Ltd.
"Connectivity is a very serious problem. BharatNet cannot become operational till a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model is not implemented. Now wherever the infrastructure has been installed, BharatNet should bid out to operators to find customers, maintain, collect payments, and then give a fixed amount to the government. It is not the government's job to do marketing, it should be done by these service providers," opined a BharatNet official.
TRAI WANTS BROADBAND VIA CATV
Speaking at the Skoch Summit, TRAI Chairman R S Sharma said "We have been following it with the Department of Telecom and the I&B Ministry. Yesterday that pipe was used for providing cable TV service, it can now also transfer bits and bytes. That can immediately provide connectivity to 500 million people." An average Indian home has 5 members, and there are close to 100 million Cable TV homes. "We have made a number of recommendation and our recommendations if followed could transform our ranking which is abysmally low," Sharma added. Wireless or mobile broadband subscribers in September 2016 were pegged at 173.87 million and there were 17.84 million fixed line broadband connections. The total of 191.71 broadband connections is dismally below the National Telecom Policy's target to connect 600 million people by 2020 at minimum 2 Mbps download speed.Speaking at the Skoch Summit, TRAI Chairman R S Sharma said "We have been following it with the Department of Telecom and the I&B Ministry. Yesterday that pipe was used for providing cable TV service, it can now also transfer bits and bytes. That can immediately provide connectivity to 500 million people." An average Indian home has 5 members, and there are close to 100 million Cable TV homes.
"We have made a number of recommendation and our recommendations if followed could transform our ranking which is abysmally low," Sharma added.
Wireless or mobile broadband subscribers in September 2016 were pegged at 173.87 million and there were 17.84 million fixed line broadband connections. The total of 191.71 broadband connections is dismally below the National Telecom Policy's target to connect 600 million people by 2020 at minimum 2 Mbps download speed. n