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TRAI’s Regulatory Framework For Broadcasting and Cable TV Sector

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has notified a regulatory framework for broadcasting and cable TV service provided through addressable systems, which include the Direct to Home (DTH) Systems, Cable TV Systems provided through Digital Addressable Systems (DAS), Head-end In The Sky (HITS) and Internet Protocol TV (IPTV). The regulatory framework comprises of:

  • The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eighth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff Order, 2017 dated March 3, 2017, as amended on March 30, 2017 [the Tariff Order 2017];
  • The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017 dated March 3, 2017 [the Interconnection Regulation 2017J;
  • The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017 dated March 3, 2017 [the QoS Regulation 2017].

Having complied with the judicial mandates in the matter, the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eighth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff Order, 2017 and the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017 as upheld by the Hon’ble Madras High Court and the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017 come into effect from July 3, 2018.

Accordingly, all the timelines prescribed in the Interconnection Regulation 2017, the QoS Regulation 2017 and the Tariff Order 2017 would commence from July 3, 2018. All the service providers are required to comply with all the provisions of the regulations and tariff order afresh. Some of the important activities and timelines recommneded are:

  • The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eighth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff Order, 2017: Declaration of MRP and nature of channels by broadcasters within 60 days; Declaration of network capacity fee and Distribution Retail Price (DRP) by Distributors (DPO) within 180 days; Reporting by broadcasters within 120 days;
  • The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017: Publication of Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO) by broadcasters within 60 days; Publication of Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO) by distributors within 60 days; Signing of the interconnection agreements within 150 days;
  • The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017: Migration of the subscribers to the new framework within 180 days; Establishment of customer care centre, website, consumer care channel and publication of Manual of Practice within 120 days.

The Authority is of the view that implementation of the new regulatory framework will bring in transparency, enable provisioning of affordable broadcasting and cable TV services for the consumer and at the same time, would lead to an orderly growth of the sector. – Communications Today Bureau

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