TRAI conducts Session on "New Regulatory Framework for Broadcasting & Cable Services"

The interaction was aimed at ensuring smooth implementation of the new regulatory framework as per prescribed timelines

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Nov 20, 2018 3:08 PM Updated: Nov 20, 2018 3:08 PM
trai

In keeping with regulating Telecom & Broadcasting Services, mainly driven by the objective of protecting the interests of service providers and consumers, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recently conducted a half-day Interactive Session on "New Regulatory Framework for Broadcasting & Cable Services" at New Delhi. 

TRAI has played an important role in shaping the regulatory and policy framework governing the sector by making timely interventions through regulations, tariff orders, directions and recommendations to the Government. 

Dr. R.S. Sharma, Chairman, TRAI, while welcoming all the participants highlighted the benefits of the new regulatory framework in broadcasting sector and said, "Transparency, Non-discrimination, Protection of Consumer interest and enabling orderly growth of the sector remain the core philosophy of new framework."

H. Pradeep Rao, Member TRAI, S.K. Gupta Secretary TRAI and other senior officers were present in the interactive session. In his presentation, S.K. Gupta focussed on the benefits that the new framework is likely to bring to consumers. He also shared that the new framework is a result of wide-ranging consultations and balances the interests of various service providers.

The Cable TV sector has been digitized pursuant to notification no. 2120 dated November 11, 2011, issued by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The phase wise digitization of the Cable TV sector has been completed in March 2017.

In consonance with digitization, TRAI notified new regulatory framework on March 3, 2017:-

i. The Telecommunication(Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eighth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff Order, 2017

ii. The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017

iii. The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017

TRAI organized this interactive session to create awareness amongst various service providers and the consumers at large. The interaction was aimed at ensuring smooth implementation of the new regulatory framework as per prescribed timelines. The session was attended by various participants representing Consumer Advocacy Groups, Broadcasters, Distribution Platform owners, Local Cable Operators and Industry Associations.

Brief on New Regulatory Framework in Broadcasting and Cable sector November 19, 2018:

l. Digitization started in 2012 in Cable TV sector and completed by end of March 2017. The purpose of digitization was to bring in transparency and provide real choice to the consumers.

2. The previous regulatory regime was designed keeping in mind the Analogue systems. Due to digitization the regulation required a comprehensive review and overhaul.

3. These issues were looked at by TRAI from Tariff, Interconnection, and Quality of Service angles. A review exercise was carried out through multiple rounds of consultative process.

4. Broadcasters wanted freedom to price their TV channels and maximise subscription and advertising revenues.

5. In the previous regulatory regime Distribution Platform Owners (DPOs) fixed the price of channels for consumers. Broadcasters who were providing Free to Air Channels (mainly in News and Current Affairs segment) felt that Free-to-Air channels should be available to the customers without any charges.

6. DPOs used to demand heavy carriage fee for carrying new channels or channels that had lower demand. Broadcasters submitted that the carriage fee charged by the DPOs should be rationalised through regulations.

7. DPOs did not have any revenue assurance to continuously upgrade their network to provide better Quality of service to the Consumers. They submitted that they need specific revenue stream to enhance quality of service to provide better, quality to consumers.

8. Fixed deals and lack of trust plagued the industry. Sudden disconnections were common phenomenon due to failure to enter into commercial agreements. Recent disconnection of all the Sony channels by Tata Sky is one such example.

9. In the previous regime customers were forced with buying bouquets of channels thereby limiting their choice. Even the FTAs were being bundled in bouquets to enhance the uptake of bouquets.

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