July 2018


All parties litigating the TRAI Tariff order seem to have decided to stop further litigation. Star India has lost its appetite for further litigation, after almost all their pleas - made by high profile lawyers P Chidambaram and A Singhvi - have been rejected by 2 judges of the Madras High Court.

When courts re-open in July, the spot light will shift to the pending Delhi High Court case filed by Bharti Airtel, Tata Sky & Discovery India, against the TRAI's 2017 tariff order. If there are no protracted arguments, the Delhi High Court & the Supreme Court are likely to dispose of the case by end July 2018. Since the tariff order provides for a 90 days notice before implementation, it could be implemented by 1st November 2018.

This month we carry an interview with an industry pioneer - Siddhartha Srivastava. He set up India's first residential Cable TV network. Not long after that, Srivastava also launched India's first Satellite Channel - ATN. The interview brings out interesting details of both these ventures, and his entrepreneurial spirit that drove him to skip post graduate education abroad, to set up a cable TV network.

With more than 100 new satellite channel licenses pending, the TRAI's recommendations on new downlinking licensing norms & procedures is most welcome. TRAI has rejected the MIB's plan to auction TV licenses. It has also suggested removal of obvious bottlenecks from the Dept of Space, the Home Ministry & MIB for issue of new licenses. Speedy implementation of these recommendations will indicate the MIB mindset under our new I&B Minister.

DoT has finally permitted full internet telephony or Voice Over IP (VoIP). The directives had been awaited for more than 2 years, during which at least 1 pioneering VoIP Indian venture folded, as its investors withdrew due to DoT's policy paralysis. The directive is another case of 'too little ... done too late.'