New Convergence Bill to be ready by early next year

By SiliconIndia   |   Monday, 23 August 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: The Government is examining the provisions of the lapsed Convergence Bill 2001 and will be ready with a fresh bill by early next year.
The Convergence Bill that was introduced by the previous National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government lapsed with the dissolution of the 13th Lok Sabha. Now the Government is looking at the Bill afresh and will firm up its view on it by early next year.

"The Standing Committee of Parliament headed by CPI (M) leader Somnath Chatterjee, who is now Lok Sabha speaker, had examined the Convergence Bill in 2002 and given its recommendations. The Government is now firming up its views on the Bill and other issues like regulation. Efforts are on to take a quick decision on the issue," Information and Broadcasting Minister S Jaipal Reddy told newsmen.

He said one of the major issues that need to be decided in the Bill was whether there should be one regulator for both content and carriage or separate regulators.

"Regulation of carriage is easy but content regulation is difficult. Other issues are also being examined in detail and a final view will be taken by early next year," Reddy said.

As TRAI was just looking at the carriage part, there was a need for a content regulator, he said.

He said the ministry is also examining the report of the Telecom Regulatory Authority for FM Radio licensing. Asked whether existing players will be allowed to migrate to the new licensing scheme, he said this issue was also under consideration.

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