Technology

No carriage fee on channel that MSO seeks

NEW DELHI: A multi-system operator who seeks signals of a particular TV channel from a broadcaster cannot demand carriage fee for carrying that channel on its distribution platform. Similarly, a broadcaster cannot insist for placement of its channel in a particular slot as a pre-condition for providing signals.


The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection (Digital Addressable Cable Television Systems) Regulations 2012 issued along with the Tariff Order states that if a broadcaster insists on placement in a particular slot, this will amount to imposition of unreasonable terms.


The Regulations say every broadcaster will provide signals of its TV channels on non-discriminatory basis to every MSO having the prescribed channel capacity and registered under rule 11 of the Cable Television Networks Rules 1994, making request for the same.


However, this will not apply to a MSO who is in default of payment and "imposition of any term which is unreasonable shall be deemed as a denial of request".


Every broadcaster or his authorised agent will provide the signals of TV channels to a MSO within 60 days from the date of receipt of the request or give reasons for not doing so within the same period.


Every MSO while seeking interconnection with the broadcaster will have to ensure that its digital addressable system installed for the distribution of TV channels meets the digital addressable system requirements specified in the Schedule attached to the Regulations, and a broadcaster will point this out to the MSO in case it finds the DAS does not meet the requirements specified.


In such a situation, the MSO can get the Das audited by Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd. (BECIL), or any other agency as may be specified by the Authority by direction issued from time to time and obtain a certificate from such agency that its system meets the requirements specified in Schedule I.


Every MSO operating in the areas notified by the Central Government under Section 4A(1) of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995 should have the capacity to carry a minimum of 500 channels not later than the date mentioned in the notification applicable to area in which the MSO is operating.


An MSO operating in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Chennai will have the capacity to carry a minimum of 200 channels as on 30 June 2012 and this will be enhanced to a minimum of 500 channels by 1 January 2013:


Provided further that all MSOs operating in the area referred to in the first provison and having subscriber base of less than 25,000 shall have the capacity to carry a minimum of 500 channels by 1 April 2013.


No broadcaster of TV channels can engage in any practice or activity or enter into any understanding or arrangement, including exclusive contract with any MSO for distribution of its channel which may prevent any other MSO from obtaining such TV channels for distribution.


Every broadcaster or his authorised agent who collects payment on behalf of such broadcaster shall issue monthly invoice to the MSO for providing signals and such invoice/s will clearly specify the current payment dues and arrears, if any, along with the due date for payment.


No MSO will enter into any understanding or arrangement with any broadcaster that may prevent any other broadcaster from obtaining access to the cable network of such MSO.


Every MSO will provide access on non-discriminatory basis to its network or convey the reasons for rejection of request to the broadcaster within 60 days of receipt of request from the broadcaster or its authorised agent or intermediary,


It will not be mandatory for a MSO to carry the channel of a broadcaster if the channel is not in regional language of the region in which the MSO is operating or in Hindi or in English language and the broadcaster is not willing to pay the uniform carriage fee published by the MSO in its Reference Interconnect Offer. But this will not apply to a broadcaster who has failed to pay the carriage fee as per the agreement and continues to be in default.


Trai has also clarified that imposition of unreasonable terms and conditions for providing access to the cable TV network will amount to the denial of request for such access. It will not be mandatory for the MSO to carry a channel for a period of next one year from the date of discontinuation of the channel, if the subscription for that particular channel in the last preceding six months is less than or equal to five per cent of the subscriber base of that MSO taken as an average of subscriber base of the preceding six months.


If a MSO before providing access to its network to a broadcaster insists on placement of the channel of such broadcaster in a particular slot or bouquet, such precondition will amount to imposition of unreasonable terms.


Every MSO shall publish in its Reference Interconnect Offer the carriage fee for carrying a channel of a broadcaster for which no request has been made by the multi system operator. The carriage fee will be uniform for all the broadcasters and will not be revised upwards for a minimum period of two years from the date of publication in the Reference Interconnect Offer.


Every MSO or his authorised agent who collects on behalf of such MSO the carriage fee from a broadcaster will issue monthly invoice/s to such broadcaster and such invoice/s will clearly specify the current payment dues and arrears, if any, along with the due date of payment.


Every MSO or their authorised agent shall provide the signals of TV Channels to a local cable operator in accordance with its reference interconnect offer or as may be mutually agreed, within 60 days from the date of receipt of the request. In case this is not agreed to, reasons will have to be conveyed for this within 60 days from the date of request.


Every MSO or his authorised agent who collects payment on behalf of such MSO from the local cable operator for providing signals will issue monthly invoice/s to such cable operator and such invoice/s will clearly specify the current payment dues and arrears, if any, along with the due date of payment.


Every demand of arrears under these regulations will be accompanied by the proof of service of invoices for the period for which the arrears pertain.

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