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India pubcaster gives up monopoly

TRAI to release recommendations immediately

NEW DELHI — India’s giant pubcaster Doordashan is about to lose its lock on terrestrial TV.

The government intends to allow the first commercial channels to broadcast free-to-air.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said it will release recommendations imminently.

TRAI chairman Pradip Baijal told the Press Trust of India the private sector should be allowed to inject capital into the sector to spur growth.

However, the high cost of creating infrastructure would put off some players, he added.

While around 100 satellite channels are available to subscribers in India, Doordashan has sole rights over terrestrial television.

Satcasters Zee, Sony and Rupert Murdoch’s Star are expected to be allowed to set up their own terrestrial transmissions.

Indian media report Star is interested in terrestrial TV, as the platform is not only suited for broadcasting local content but also to beaming signals to hand-held devices, such as mobile phones.

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