Government to regulate cable TV Channels -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Government to regulate cable TV Channels

ISLAMABAD- The government decided to regulate the sector of Cable TV Channels and authorised Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to invite applications for the issuance of licences.

Javed Jabbar told a Press briefing that the decision was taken at the Federal Cabinet meeting held here under the chairmanship of Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf.

Though the full package containing details on this widely-hailed attempt to modernise this somewhat neglected sector will be announced separately by the PTA, the adviser said Though the full package containing details on this widely-hailed attempt to modernise this somewhat neglected sector will be announced separately by the PTA.

“The Government has authorised the PTA to invite applications for the issuance of licenses to regulate the sector of Cable Television Channels that is the distribution of cable TV channels as opposed to content origination.” Content origination, he said, is a separate subject, which will be dealt with by the Cabinet at a later stage.

Javed Jabbar said, the Cabinet decision, he said, marks an important step towards acknowledging the importance of this sector, there is a lot of potential in this sector, and one can take advantage of it through instant flow of information.

At the same time, he said, the Cabinet also set up a Committee, comprising members from the Ministry of Communication, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Information and Culture to review comprehensively the rules and the specific parameters that will then become applicable to the issuance of licences.

He announced that the regulation of the system, as already done in several countries, would be done in Pakistan keeping in view the convenience of the customers. The Cable TV Network sector has witnessed a spectacular mushroom growth in the last three years.

“It is a very good sign because it shows a sense of enterprise at the grass roots level, using very tow-cost distribution methods.” Over 500,000 homes are benefiting from the availability of cable TV channel distribution system, he said.

The Advisor on National Affairs said, the regulation of, this sector will be carried out keeping in view the convenience of the customer, the citizens of Pakistan. “First and foremost the citizens should continue to benefit from this service.”

Javed Jabbar said, the Government felt that it is long overdue that the public exchequer should be able to receive a due license fees. The fees, he said, would be fixed in proportion to the size of a cable operator so that the fees will be pegged to the number of households that it serves.

The Cabinet, he said, recognized the fact that the Cable TV system has the enormous potential in the future. “This has the potential of bringing the Internet and the advantages of the Internet information flow into the homes across the country, middle income and low income people who cannot afford access to computers.” “So as a step towards the modernization of Pakistan’s body politic, it is an important step.”

Source: Dawn, The Nation
Date:1/21/2000