MIB allows voluntary sharing of infra between HITS ops & MSOs
As per the new clauses, platform infrastructure can be shared voluntarily for distribution of TV channels provided signals of HITS platform are distributed to subscribers via the cable operator
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has amended the Headend-in-the-Sky (HITS) guidelines by allowing sharing of infrastructure by HITS operators with multi-system operators (MSOs). The sharing of infrastructure between HITS and cable TV companies has been a long-pending demand of the distribution sector.
As per the new clauses added to the HITS guidelines, a HITS operator may share the platform infrastructure on a voluntary basis, in flexible ways, for distribution of TV channels provided that the signals of the HITS platform are distributed to subscribers through cable operator only and the encryption of signals, addressability and liabilities are not compromised.
The amended guidelines also allow sharing of transport stream transmitted by HITS platforms, between HITS operators and MSOs. Further, the HITS platform will not be allowed to be used as a teleport for the uplinking of TV channels.
An HITS operator willing to share its transport stream with an MSO should ensure that the MSO has a valid written interconnection agreement with the concerned broadcasters for distribution of Pay TV channels to the subscribers.
For an HITS operator to share infrastructure with an MSO, the operator will be allowed sharing only on Indian controlled satellites. A written permission from the Department of Space (DOS) will be required in this regard.
For infrastructure sharing, the new applicant(s) and existing licensee(s) will jointly submit a detailed proposal for sharing details of infrastructure and in the manner infrastructure is proposed to be shared as well as roles and responsibilities of each party to the ministry of information and broadcasting with a copy each to NOCC and WPC, DoT.
The proposal should contain:
(i) Acceptance from all concerned stakeholders for sharing the infrastructure inwriting.
(ii) No Objection / Permission for sharing of infrastructure will be subject to:
a. Security clearance by the Ministry of Home Affairs,
b. Clearance of satellite use and transponder sharing from Department of Space,c. Wireless Operating License issued by Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing,d. National Operational Control Centre (NOCC-DOT) certification
(iii) Copies of the Agreements between the parties sharing the infrastructure with conditions stipulated in the guidelines
Parties that are proposing to share the infrastructure have to provide an undertaking that there will not be any violation of the underlying terms and conditions of the licence granted or to be granted.
The sharing of the Satellite resources and Up-linking infrastructure (on a voluntary basis) will be allowed with the written permission of MIB and WPC and NOCC, DoT.'
To enable the sharing of HITS infrastructure and transport stream, the condition in the existing guidelines relating to the hiring of satellite capacity and setting up of the Earth station, will stand modified accordingly to the extent as per these amended guidelines.
To ensure continuity of service to subscribers in the event of any disaster, the operator should have an arrangement of sharing disaster recovery systems in hot-standby mode.
For the conditional access system (CAS) & subscriber management system (SMS), sharing parties may use common hardware. Details of such an arrangement should be intimated to M lB and broadcasters, 30 days in advance. However, the respective HITS operator, MSO/cable operator will be accountable for the integrity and security of CAS and SMS data pertaining to the respective operator.
As per the amended guidelines, the maintenance of historical logs of data of CAS and SMS for two years will be the responsibility of respective operators individually. The access to CAS & SMS for audit purposes and also to the authorised officers of government and their representatives will also be the responsibility of the respective operator individually.
For transport stream sharing each operator shall be individually responsible for setting up the system and processes which ensure that the broadcasters can exercise the right for disconnection in case of default of payment or due to any other reason in terms of interconnection agreements between the broadcaster and the operator as well as the relevant regulations in place.
The adherence and compliance to all the provisions of the rules and guidelines issued by MIB and NOCC and WPC, DoT for grant of licence to the HITS operator will be the responsibility of both, the existing operator and the new applicant proposing to share the infrastructure, respectively to the extent as required /applicable individually.
Each operator in the sharing environment should undertake to ensure the encryption of signals and addressability to all the subscribers in all circumstances and provide requisite access for Audit or for authorized officers of Government wherever demanded.
Accountability of operators is ensured with reference to the SMS, the irrespective subscribers and to the respective state Governments and local administration as well as to the Central Government on all relevant aspects of Tax collection
Compliance with TRAI regulation pertaining to CAS/SMS, Fingerprinting, STBas per Schedule lll of the regulation will be the responsibility of the respective operator individually to ensure proper reporting of subscriber's base, checking unauthorised distribution and piracy, the amended guideline states.
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