TRAI issues consultation paper on platform services offered by DTH operators

The stakeholders have time to comment till September 27

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Aug 30, 2019 3:34 PM

The Telecom Authority of India (TRAI) has issued yet another consultation paper. This time it concerns the PS or Platform Services provided by the DTH operators.

As per a reference received by TRAI from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting dated July 2, 2019, the regulatory body is seeking comments from stakeholders regarding a few points - first being the DTH operator offering Platform Service Channels must ensure that the same content is not shared with any other DPO. The other issue is regarding one-time registration fee to be enhanced to Rs 1 lakh per PS channel as against Rs 1,000 per PS channel recommended earlier by the authority. The maximum number of PS channels that a DTH operator can offer could be sequenced separately from the regular channels.

All TV channel Distribution Platform Operators (DPOs) - MSOs, DTH and HITS operators, operate certain kind of programming services which are specific to each platform and are not obtained from broadcasters. DPOs use PS to offer innovative services and product differentiation. It also acts as a unique selling proposition (USP) for DPOs and also helps them in meeting the specific needs of their subscribers.

TRAI considered the issue in its earlier consultation process on Regulatory Framework for Platform Services (Consultation Paper No.07/2014 dated 23rd June, 2014) and recommended to the government in its recommendations on the subject matter, dated November 11 that local news and current affairs bulletins will be permissible as PS, and that even for airing the programme the DPO must obtain prior permission from the Authorised Officer under the Cable TV Act and also the programme should adhere to the Programme and Advertising Codes prescribed under the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994.

On the sharing of the programme with other DPOs it was recommended that interconnection with other networks for sharing of PS should not be allowed.

TRAI has observed that at present PS channels being offered by DPOs are not regulated under any specific guidelines of the MIB. DPOs operate them as per their own understanding of the terms and conditions of their respective registrations/ licenses/ agreements. Some programmes transmitted by seven DPOs through these PS channels are similar to the programmes transmitted by regular TV channels.

TRAI has sought comments on nine questions. These include whether or not these PS channels be exclusively available to DTH operators, what should be the annual/registration fee, how many PS channels can be allowed, what should be the order, should they be categorised in genres and more.

The stakeholders have time to comment till September 27.

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