TRAI orders MSOs to deliver RIOs; tariff packages

MUMBAI: The fear of Friday the thirteenth seems to be coming true for registered multi system operators (MSOs) as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has come out with two different directions for them today. And it has warned them that it is time for the stakeholders to buck up and act fast.

The first direction issued today gives 118 registered MSOs just 10 days to submit their interconnection agreements entered with the broadcasters for re-transmission of channels on their cable networks in the Digital Addressable System (DAS) notified areas. Another direction, gives them seven days to submit the details of tariff packages along with the terms and conditions for supply and installation of the set top box (STB) to their subscribers.

Of the 118 MSOs, a few well-known names that feature in the list are: Siti Cable Network, Seven Star Dot Com, Sagar E Technologies, Ortel Communication, Manthan Broadband, JAK Communications, IMCL, Hathway Cable & Datacom and Den Networks amongst others.

“Every MSO, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 (24 of 1997) and regulation 5, 8 & 9 of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection (Digital Addressable Cable Television Systems) Regulation, 2012 (No. 9 of 2012), is required to have such interconnection agreement in DAS areas,” states the TRAI direction regarding interconnect agreement.

According to regulation 5, it is mandatory for pay channel broadcasters to reduce the terms and conditions of the interconnection agreement into writing and deprive MSOs of their TV channel signals if no interconnect agreement is signed. Also, as per regulation 9, MSOs need to submit their interconnect agreement within the specified period to the authority.

The TRAI direction had earlier said: “Every existing MSO shall submit to the authority by 31 July, 2012, all interconnect agreements entered into and amendments made therein prior to the date of notification of these regulations.”

Regulation 8 gives power to the authority to intervene, inter alia, to protect the interest of the consumer and service provider. “The authority may, in order to protect the interest of the consumer or service provider or to promote and ensure orderly growth of the broadcasting and cable sector or for monitoring and ensuring compliance of these regulations, by order or direction, intervene, from time to time,” says the TRAI direction.

With none of the MSOs so far caring to submit the tariff packages along with terms and conditions for supply and installations of STBs to their subscribers despite being ordered to do so under the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (fifth) (Digital Addressable Cable TV Systems) Tariff Order, 2013 (No. 1 of 2013) issued on 27 May, the regulator has now cracked the whip on them to follow it and submit the packages within seven days from today. 


It is to be noted that clause 5 of the tariff order states that every MSO has to report to the authority by 15 June 2013, the details of all the tariff packages and other terms and conditions for supply and installation of the STBs. According to this order, “Any change in the tariff package reported under sub-clause (1) and the introduction of a new tariff package for supply and installation of STB shall be reported to the authority at least seven days prior to such change or introduction, as the case may be.”

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