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TRAI seeks views on renewal of multi-system operator registrations

Broadcast regulator TRAI on Wednesday sought views of various stakeholders on the renewal of registration for multi-system operators, including the quantum of fee charged for the process.

In a consultation paper issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), it sought views from various stakeholders on the provisions for continuance of service by multi-system operators (MSOs) to consumers after expiry of the previous registration when a final decision on its application for renewal is awaited.

It also sought suggestions on whether a broadcaster should disconnect television channels for such MSOs whose registration has expired and they have not applied for renewal.

According to the current guidelines, an MSO with valid registration can get the signals of a television channel.

“Should existing registered operational MSOs be provided with an extended time beyond the original registration period for applying for renewal? What should be the maximum time after expiry up to which an application for renewal can be entertained by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting?” it asked.

The regulator also sought views on whether an additional fee should be sought for renewal applications received after the expiry of the registration.

The TRAI also sought views of the stakeholders on the prescription of qualifying conditions for renewal of MSO registration and the list of compliances that should be made mandatory for such a process.

Digitalisation of the broadcasting sector in the country began in 2012 and was completed by March 2017.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued the first of new registrations to multi system operators during the distribution antenna system implementation in June 2012.

The registrations come up for renewal or extension in June 2022 and the consultations were necessitated as the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 do not mention provision about renewal of MSO registrations. PTI

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