Digitisation: Trai directs MSOs and LCOs to comply with QoS in DAS areas

NEW DELHI: For the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), it is time to take audit of the first phase of implementation of digital addressable system (DAS) by cable TV networks. Though satisfied with the deployment of set-top boxes (STBs), the broadcast sector regulator now seems to be wanting faster progress made on packaging of channels and billing so that cable TV subscribers can select their channels according to their budgets.

In a toughening of stance, Trai has directed multi-system operators (MSOs) and the local cable operators (LCOs) to make their subscriber management system (SMS) fully operational in DAS areas. The systems are provided for under Regulation 20 of the Standards of Quality of Service (QoS) Regulations.

Trai has asked the MSOs and the LCOs to file a compliance report of the QoS within seven days from the date of issue of this directive. The sector regulator had sent the directive on 22 February.

"It has come to the notice of the Trai that this feature has not been implemented effectively by many MSOs. Also, in many of the cases the LCOs have not provided the completed subscriber application forms to their linked MSOs," Trai said.

The compliance report to be given to the Authority will contain total number of STBs received from the linked MSO, total number of STBs seeded and operationalised, total number of consumer application forms duly filled and complete in all respects (all the relevant consumer details and his choice of channels/ bouquets) and submitted to the linked MSO.

An addressable system "enables the subscribers to exercise their choice of services and budget their bills accordingly". It also "facilitates the MSOs to effectively manage their accounting and billing of the services rendered".

Though the process of SMS had started, senior executives of several MSOs said on condition of anonymity that the entire system would take some time. They also admitted that they faced resistance from some LCOs, following which there was delay in selling channel packages to their subscribers and implementing a proper billing system. Meanwhile, some LCOs have carried out protests to express their dissatisfaction over Trai‘s prescribed revenue share with the MSOs in DAS markets.

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