Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) Secretary Apurva Chandra has said that the broadcasting sector will need to upgrade its infrastructure to remain compatible with the 5G technology. He was speaking at the silver jubilee function of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
"Convergence is happening. In telecom and broadcasting, everything is getting converged. Everything is available on an app and now with 5G coming in, we will see a faster convergence with the availability of linear platforms on mobile, and digital radio on mobile. We will require up-gradation of infrastructure in the broadcasting sector also to match 5G availability," Chandra said in his address.
He also stated that TRAI, which regulates both the telecom and broadcasting sectors, has the challenge to keep the regulations in pace with the changing technology. "The march of technology will keep going on and TRAI will have to maintain its regulations in line with technology."
Chandra noted that broadcasting is a smaller cousin of telecom in terms of revenue but in terms of reach broadcasting is as big as telecom or probably bigger. "Broadcasting is as vibrant as our democracy with more than 850 TV channels of which 300 are news channels, 386 FM radio stations, 355 community radio stations, 1750 MSOs who are providing cable services, and over 200,000 LCOs in various parts of the country. So the reach, scope, and employment are huge."
The MIB secretary stated that the broadcasting continues to see participation from newer entities. "While the telecom sector has seen a consolidation, the broadcasting sector keeps on growing with more and more entities coming online almost on a daily basis."
He also stated that the media & entertainment industry is estimated to be $25 billion and we expect it to grow to $70 billion by 2030. He added that TRAI will complete 25 years as a regulator of broadcasting in 2029 and it is the regulator's task to steer this growth of the broadcasting sector over the next decade
"We expect the broadcasting sector to grow at 12% every year over the next decade or so while the country grows at 8% because both telecom and broadcasting will have to lead the way in the growth of the country," he averred.
Noting how TRAI has supported the broadcasting sector over the last 18 years, Chandra stated that the migration from analogue to digital that was achieved in 2017 was largely due to the efforts of TRAI.
"TRAI has given us 48 recommendations over this period and most of them have been acted upon by the government," he said.
TRAI, he added, has also helped in the dissemination of data through low-cost data. "This is one of the biggest achievements of our telecom sector that it allows so much information to flow to everyone in the country," he commented.