India to reduce digital cable STB custom duty to zero

Thursday, August 5th, 2010 
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NEW DELHI — The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today released the recommendations on Implementation of Digital Addressable Cable TV Systems in India.

Digital addressable systems will enable consumers to watch high quality digital Television channels of their choice on a-la-carte basis. Also digital systems have the capacity to deliver many more channels to the consumers than analogue cable. In fact, the capacity crunch and the non-addressable nature of analogue cable TV systems is coming in the way of orderly growth of the cable TV sector in India. TRAI has come up with its recommendations on Implementation of Digital Addressable Cable TV Systems in India, the key features of which are:

(a) Sunset date for Analogue TV services in the country – 31st Dec. 2013

Implementation is to be carried out in four phases:

Phase I – Four Metros, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai – by 31st March 2011.
Phase II – In all the cities, having population over one million – by 31st December 2011.
Phase III – In all other urban areas (municipal corporations/municipalities) across the county – by 31st December 2012.
Phase IV – Rest of India – by 31st December 2013.

(b) Incentives to stakeholders:

  • All service providers who have set up a digital addressable distribution network before the sunset date(s), be eligible for income tax holiday from 1.04.2011 (or the date of setting up of the network whichever is later) to 31.03.2019;
  • Basic custom duty is to be reduced to Zero, for all digital headend equipments and Set Top Boxes (STBs), for the next 3 years;
  • MSOs/LCOs to be given the Right of Way (RoW) permission to lay optical fibre/Cable, on non-exclusive basis and MSOs/LCOs to be licensed
  • Taxes/levies on the broadcasting distribution sector to be rationalized

(c) Education programmes to be taken up to educate the stakeholders about the benefits of digital addressable cable TV systems.

More: Recommendations on Implementation of Digital Addressable Cable TV Systems in India

Links: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India