Time extended for comments on draft amendments to the Interconnection Regulations and Tariff Order

NEW DELHI: Stakeholders have been asked by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to file by 3 July their comments on interconnect regulations and tariff order under the digital addressable system.

TRAI has also said no request for any further extension of time for submission of comments will be entertained.

The "Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection (Digital Addressable Cable Television Systems) (Second Amendment) Regulations, 2013" and the draft "Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Fourth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff (Second Amendment) Order 2013" seek to amend some regulations that TRAI had passed earlier in relation to tariffs and interconnect agreements in earlier years. (Earlier, TRAI had notified the Interconnection Regulations for DAS dated 30 April 2012 as amended on 14 May last year and the Tariff Order applicable for the Addressable Systems dated 21 July 2010 as amended on 30 April last year).

The amendments it has proposed state:

  • Multi system operators (MSOs) cannot seeks signals of a particular TV channel from a broadcaster under ‘must provide‘ clause while at the same time demanding carriage fee for carrying that channel on its distribution platform.

  • No minimum channel carrying capacity has been prescribed for the MSOs. However, the MSOs are mandated to carry the channels of broadcasters on non-discriminatory basis under the ‘must carry‘ provision.

  • The service providers of the addressable systems are allowed to price and package their offering of channels, however, they are required to comply with the modified twin conditions, as proposed in the draft amendment to the tariff order. These twin conditions are (a) the a-la-carte rate of a pay channel forming part of a bouquet shall not exceed two times the a-la carte rate of the channel offered by the broadcaster at wholesale rates for addressable systems (b) the a-la-carte rate of a pay channel forming part of a bouquet shall not exceed three times the ascribed value of the pay channel in the bouquet. The TRAI says it is doing this to ensure that the a-la-carte rates offered to the subscribers are reasonable vis-? -vis the bouquet/package rates.

  • As in the case of pay channels, operators can specify a minimum subscription period, not exceeding three months, for Free-to-Air (FTA) channels subscribed on a-la-carte basis by the subscribers.

  • Subscribers are free to choose channels on a-la-carte basis or bouquet/package basis or any combination of a-la-carte and bouquet/package.

  • Channels, such as HD or 3D, requiring special type of set top boxes are to be offered on a-la-carte basis and if such channels are also offered as a part of a bouquet(s), corresponding to each such bouquet, the operator would be required to offer bouquet(s) excluding the HD and 3D channels, at a reduced price, commensurate to the rates of these HD and 3D channels.

Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection (Digital Addressable Cable Television Systems) (Second Amendment) Regulations, 2013

Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Fourth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff (Second Amendment) Order 2013

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