TRAI reiterates recommendations on cap for DTH platform services
The authority also said that MIB should not put any artificial restriction on the licence condition for DTH operators
The Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) of India has recommended the total number of permitted platform service (PS) for a DTH operator to be capped to 3% of the total channel carrying capacity of the DTH operator platform and subject to a maximum of 15 platform services channels.
The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) responded to the issue saying that IMC noted it is necessary to restrict the capacity of platform services (PS) channels by DTH operators as recommended by TRAI. There is a wide variation at present among the DTH operators in their channel carrying capacity and PS channels being offered.
Taking note of this, IMC recommended that the DTH operators may be permitted to operate to a maximum 5% of its total channel carrying capacity as permitted PS channels without any limit on the maximum number of PS channels, which may vary as and when the channel carrying capacity of operator increases.
TRAI responded that the DTH operators being the distributors of the broadcasting value chain primarily have to carry the content produced by the broadcasters, and not to produce their own content. The domain and functioning of the DTH operators are different from that of the broadcasters. Moreover, with the presence of a large number of already-available permitted satellite TV channels (900+) spread across multiple regional languages and genres, there is no pressing of requirement, for a large number of PS channels to be available especially on the DTH platforms as they have a national presence and not limited to a small area.
Therefore, the authority is of the view that as such there is no need to change the recommended cap of 3% of the total channel carrying capacity for the platform services.
“An upper limit of 15 channels is also important so that even if the channel carrying capacity gets increased in future, it should be given to broadcasters who are waiting for the channel capacity. As the broadcasters are not permitted to reach to consumers directly, they are dependent only on the distributors, allowing more channels as PS will put artificial restriction on the broadcasters to launch new channels and in turn, they will be discouraged to bring new channels in the sector which will adversely affect the public interest at large,” stated TRAI.
TRAI also recommends that the DTH operator shall be bound to orders/ directions/regulations issued by TRAI in respect of DTH services including platform services provided by the operator.
IMC deliberated on powers of TRAI with respect to DTH operators as recommended. IMC recommended that except in respect of powers being hitherto exercised by TRAI in respect of DPOs, the issues pertaining to DTH operators etc. as per licence should be regulated by MIB.
TRAI stated, “It is not correct to say that service providers will be bound by the orders/directions/regulations of TRAI issued by TRAI from time to time only issues relating to Interconnection agreement/tariff/quality of service. MIB should not put any artificial restriction in the license condition. It is essential that DTH guiltiness should have one overarching clause clearly stating that DTH operator shall be bound by orders/ directions/regulations issued by TRAI in respect of DTH services.”
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