Small rebroadcasting companies file complaint with Speaker Nasheed over losses

Police walk past the Parliament building in Male' City. (File Photo/Sun)

Small companies rebroadcasting in local islands have submitted a letter to Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed complaining of some parties’ actions causing losses to small businesses involved in rebroadcasting, and destroying a competitive business environment – in order to bring the issue to the attention of the relevant parliamentary committee.

Eydhafushi Cable Network, a small company in the rebroadcasting business, said that the current administration had empowered small and medium businesses by facilitating additional opportunities, to achieve self-sufficiency.

Despite this, the company stressed the need to bring the business activities of some companies that obstruct competition amongst small rebroadcasting companies to parliament’s attention.

In the letter, the company requested that whilst the parliament’s Secondary Legislation Committee reviews the case recent amendments made by Maldives Broadcasting Commission (BroadCom) to the regulation on rebroadcasting – the case be reviewed and concluded in a manner it also addresses concerns of small business involved in the same industry.

Eydhafushi Cable Network emphasized the existing threat today that the rebroadcasting industry may become a monopoly, falling under the power of just one company, effectively losing its competitiveness.

“Because of one company, island-based companies providing rebroadcasting service across atolls have been rendered unable to compete, thus, the industry losing its competitiveness in its entirety. Therewith, over 100 cable operators included among small businesses providing the service have raised the issue with the government,” the letter read.

A letter was sent to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih by small rebroadcasting companies on the same issue last year. The letter also underscored losses to small businesses due to one company, requesting a solution.

The letter to the president detailed that small rebroadcasting companies had been providing cable TV service to date under partnerships with Medianet, in a manner that benefits both parties. The businesses stressed that they catered major international channels to customers via cable networks laid down by their own investments through Medianet without payment of a channel license fee for any of those channels. It was noted that this was done without incurring any additional fees.

In the letter, the main concern at present for small rebroadcasting companies was laid down as a major company involved in the business commencing the provision of cable TV service via internet. The result of this, as per the letter, is diminishing the competitiveness in the industry, and one whole industry falling under the clutches of one company.

The latest amendment to the rebroadcasting regulation states that permit to rebroadcast in the Maldives will only be granted to companies with 100 percent local shares. Parliament’s Secondary Legislation has decided to major rebroadcasting companies to hear their concerns regarding the matter.