Technology

Trai seeks stakeholder views on STB interoperability

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) today asked stakeholders if there is a possibility of an Open Architecture based set-top-box (STB) for all direct-to-home (DTH) services.


In a consultation paper issued today, Trai said this could ensure technical interoperability - technical compatibility and effective interoperability among different DTH operators who have adopted the same or different standards.


The regulator wants to know how the interoperability can be implemented and the implications it will have on the stakeholders.
 
Trai also wants to know whether there is a need to mandate any particular standard so that the objectives of technical interoperability can be achieved.


If technical interoperability for STB is not possible, Trai has sought information on any other mechanism to safeguard the interests of the subscribers.


The consultation paper was issued today as the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had on 11 May 2010 requested Trai to review its recommendations “Interoperability and other Issues relating to DTH” of 30 January 2008.


The consultation paper discusses the architecture of STB, relevant standards and the various issues on technical interoperability.


Stakeholders have been requested to offer suggestions by 7 September and counter-comments by 12 September.


In 2006, the Ministry sought recommendations of Trai on various issues related to a DTH licence. One of the issues included technical interoperability in case of STBs with recording facility, personal video recorder (PVR) or digital video recorder (DVR). The Authority made some recommendations to the Ministry on 25 August 2006.


On the issue of technical interoperability, it was recommended that there should not be any amendment in Clauses 7.1 and 7.2 of the DTH license agreement which mandate technical interoperability for DTH STBs. It was also recommended that the DTH service providers should also be encouraged to provide basic or advanced set top boxes to consumers under rental schemes, but there should be no dilution in the technical interoperability conditions. 
 
Meanwhile, the issue of interoperability of STBs was part of one of the petitions before the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (Tdsat). Another petition on the same ground is sub-judice. These petitions have been filed on the behalf of different consumer groups.


Since the start of DTH operations in India, the subscriber base has grown manifold. There are six private DTH operators apart from Doordarshan‘s DD Direct Plus service. These DTH operators have adopted different technological standards for their network operations.


DTH had come into the country when the Government in 2001 withdrew the prohibition on the reception and distribution of television signal in Ku band. The first DTH licence was awarded by the Ministry in 2003.

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