Reportedly, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) is planning to take action against over-the-top (OTT) platforms like Netflix after the Eidul Azha holiday, according to Khalid Arain, Chairman of the Cable Operators Association of Pakistan.
During a constructive discussion between cable operators and senior Pemra officials, the concerns of the cable operators were effectively communicated. Arain highlighted the restrictions faced by cable operators in broadcasting certain channels, while OTT platforms enjoy the freedom to showcase popular channels.
Referring to OTT platforms as streaming services over the internet, Arain emphasized the cable operators’ request for regulatory measures to address those operators providing both internet and cable services.
Arain announced a positive response from the regulatory body, stating that a Pemra committee will be established to address the licensing issue for cable operators. Furthermore, a crackdown on OTT platforms will be initiated after Eidul Azha.
In addition, Arain advocated for tax exemptions in the cable sector, drawing a comparison to the solar power industry and suggesting that taxes on cable operators should be eased. However, he did not provide specific justification for this request.
Arain also highlighted an inequity regarding the collection of Local Loop license fees by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in US dollars from cable operators, while subscribers make payments in the local currency. He deemed this situation unfair, citing the existing rupee-dollar exchange rate as a contributing factor.