6/8/2010, 2 days ago, Beijing, the 5th draft of China's triple play operation policy was finally passed on a State Council's meeting organized by vice premier minister, Mr. Zhang Dejiang, at the cost of the loss of access control of IPTV content for telecom service providers. According to the draft, cable TV providers under SARFT (State administration of radio, film, television) can provide internet, VoIP service formerly in the future, at the same time, telecom service providers need SARFT’s permission to provide IPTV services. It was said the new triple play policy will be launched officially on June 25.
On January 21 2010, State Council decided to forge ahead China's triple play operation. Since that day, SARFT and MIIT (Minstry of Industry Information Technology) fell into a struggle on who can control the IPTV content. MIIT hopes they can have this power because that convergence of telecom service and media industry is trend for the telecom industry. Also from their past experience of struggle with SARFT, they understand that without this power, they can’t develop IPTV fully.
But for SARFT, their cable TV service providers are in relatively poor competing situation. Their is no a national cable TV service provider in mainland China, the total revenue of all cable service providers is much less than the revenue of any telecom service provider in mainland China. They are afraid to lose completely in the future competition if they don't have any key competition ability. Also, from day one of the launch of SARFT, they are given the responsibility to check the TV and film content in cooperation with communist party’s propaganda department.
For above reasons, in the former 4 drafts, both SARFT and MIIT won't want to step back. But suddenly, the 5th draft was passed in favor of SARFT. Nobody knows the real reason why MIIT want to give up; maybe it is under the pressure of state council. According to this new draft, all telecom service providers' future IPTV service must cooperate with local cable TV service providers. The later will be responsible for the content platform, and local SARFT administration will decide if telecom service providers can provide IPTV service.
Telecom service providers still have some weapons to defend cable TV service providers. In today’s mainland China, only telecom service providers have the access ability to international Internet. The telephone number resources are in their hands also. No one knows if telecom service providers will give real help to cable TV service providers on those services. Although MIIT gave up in this section, they won't give up in the future. For China's triple play, there is still not a clear future.
The launch of the new triple policy is at the cost of the loss of telecom service providers. Maybe China’s government still hopes that there is a stronger national cable TV service provider in the short future. But can SARFT really reach this aim?