The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in its recommendations on Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) services has allowed registered cable operators, Unified Access Services license (UASL) and Cellular Mobile Telephony Service (CMTS) licensees, and ISPs with Rs 100 crore net worth to offer the service without a fresh license.
Similarly, cable TV operators registered under the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act 1995 can provide IPTV service without requiring any further licence.
The recommendations further said that the telecom licensees while providing TV channels through IPTV should transmit only such channels in exactly same form (unaltered) for which broadcasters had received uplinking and downlinking permission from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. In such cases, the responsibility of ensuring that the content is in accordance with the extant laws, rules, regulations, etc., shall be that of the broadcaster and telecom licensee would not be held responsible.
In case of content other than TV channels from broadcasters, the telecom licensee shall be responsible for observing programme code and advertisement code, and such programme code and advertisement code shall be the same as provided in the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act 1995 and Rules there under.
The I&B Ministry and IT ministry are monitoring the contents. Operational procedures like time to keep a copy of the contents shown on IPTV, monitoring requirements, etc., could be worked out by the Department of Telecom (DoT) based on the feedback from the respective ministries. Any violation of prevailing Acts/ Rules/ guidelines relating to content by telecom service providers in provisioning of IPTV service shall be reported to DoT by the respective ministries. The decision of the respective ministries regarding violation of the law/ direction/ guidelines in respect to content would be final, said TRAI in the recommendation.
Telecom service providers providing IPTV could show only those news channels which had been approved by the I&B Ministry.
Uplinking and downlinking guidelines should be amended to enable the broadcasters to provide signals to all distributors of TV channels such as cable operators, MSOs, DTH operators, HITS operators, IPTV service providers, etc.