The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has been ideating on the entry-level net worth value for the eligibility of multi-system operators (MSOs). After a long wait, today Trai has released its recommendations on "Entry-level Net-worth requirement of Multi-System Operators (MSOs) in Cable TV Services". To recall, the Ministry of Information and Broadcastings had written a reference letter to the telecom regulator asking for recommendations on the Entry level Net-worth requirement of Multi-System Operators (MSOs) in Cable TV Services.
Trai Ends Long Consultation Process
The reference from the I&B ministry was received by Trai on May 16, 2018. This reference letter was about seeking recommendations of Trai on the appropriate levels for fixation of entry-level net-worth of the Multi-System Operators (MSOs) for operationalizing cable TV digitization across the country. Further details of the reference were shared by MIB vide its letter dated December 13, 2018.
Later on, to deliberate on various aspects related to the matter and also to take inputs from the industry stakeholders on relevant issue, the Authority issued a detailed Consultation paper on "Entry Level Net Worth for MSOs in Cable TV Services", on 9April 9 2019. Following this, there was also an open house discussion which was held on June 11, 2019, in Delhi, to seek the further views of the stakeholders on various issues.
Basing its comments on the above-mentioned consultation process and its own analysis, the Authority has finally filed its recommendations on "Entry Level Net Worth requirement for MSO in Cable TV Services". The Authority has noted that the New Regulatory Framework provides an enabling environment for Small and Medium MSOs and upscaling of LCOs to MSO. To highlight the measures that enable small and medium MSOs the Authority has published a white-paper on 'Benefits of the New Framework for Small MSOs.'
Trai Recommends No Fixation of Minimum Entry Level Net Worth
In its recommendations, the Authority has recommended that,' ... there is no necessity for fixation of a minimum entry-level net worth for MSO registration. As at present, any individual, company, Corporate firm or LLP that fulfils provisions of the Cable TV Rules may be granted MSO registration.
This comes as a win for the small operators, cable operators and distribution platforms which were aiming for upgrading their operations to a multi-system operator. If these new recommendations are pondered upon and accepted by the ministry then, there will be no minimum net-worth requirement for the operators to do MSO registration. Currently, any firm, individual or company or LLP has to land under the rules and provisions of Cable TV to be eligible for MSO registration. If passed, then this will allow more and more operators to file their registrations for Multi-System Operators.