Indian Cable TV Ordered to Implement 'Unbundling' Law

14 March 2006

India's cable television market faces a major shake-up as a three-year-old law is finally set to be implemented.

The High Court in Delhi has told the sub-continent's central government it has four weeks to ensure the 'conditional access system' - whereby cable subscribers pay only for the channels they choose to watch - is available in the capital, in Mumbai and in Kolkata.

The service operates in Chennai, but elsewhere customers have to pay a flat fee of Rs300 ($6.77; €5.64; £3.90) for a bundle of more than 100 channels that are automatically broadcast to their homes.

Small local cable operators control 'the last mile' into people's homes, often creaming off up to 70% of subscription revenues. Under the new rules multi-system operators, who buy the programs from broadcasters, will collect fees.

Comments Mumbai analyst Sumeet Rohra: "It's going to bring order to a sector which is totally disorganised today."

India's cable market is the world's third largest and is worth around $3 billion.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff