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Further 2-month delay in Trai report likely as fresh pitches sought

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NEW DELHI: All those in the industry that have been waiting for India's broadcast and cable regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), to come out with its recommendations on various issues may have to wait a while.



Trai has invited pitches from consultants to help them out with the global and technical scenarios with reports. Since the consultants would have to submit their reports before Trai finalises its own consultation paper, a further delay of at least two months can be taken for granted. The last date for submission of letters of interest is 10 September.



There is, however, no information whether this move of Trai has been initiated at the behest of the government or not.



At the moment, the industry is still awaiting a full report/recommendations from Trai on important issues like `must provide' clause for all platforms, CAS and price freeze on cable services, etc. This move may also result in the government waiting for a Trai reccomendation before taking any action on various issues like issuing a licence to operate a KU-band DTH television service to a Tata-Star joint venture.



The two consultants would be required to furnish their reports on the following points:



Consultant 1 (International Trends):

o Study of international trends on the digitalisation of cable television.

o The report should cover four developed countries, including the USA and the UK as well as some developing countries with per capita income similar to that of India.

o The report should cover the statutes and regulations adopted by these countries towards the objective of digitalisation of cable TV as well as implementation schedules.

o The report should also cover the technical standards adopted by these countries

o The technical status of plug and play digital television, which can be directly plugged with digital cable services without the need for a STB (set-top box).



Consultant 2 (Technical &Costing)

o Details of technical set-up (including costing) from head-end to customer-end required by multi-system operators and local cable operators for the delivery of 30 FTA channels, 36 scrambled pay channels requiring analogue or digital STB,incremental details for further 144 digital channels in steps of 36.

o The details should be provided for different levels of subscriber base of up to 500 subscribers, up to 5000 subscribers, up to 50,000 subscribers and up to 200,000 subscribers.

o The details of technical set-up (including costing) required at the cable head-end to receive signals from broadcasters through satellite, optical fiber etc.

o The details of technical set-up (including costing) required to provide interactive TV services such as pay-per-view, video on demand, etc.o The consultant would be required to study the status of digitalisation of TV in India and visit at least two towns where the MSOs have started digitalisation of their services. This should be a part of the report.

o The consultant will take into account the relevant ITU, IEC and BIS standards and suggest need for change, if any.



Trai has said that reputed consultancy firms having offices/partner in India and global reach, with adequate and specific expertise on technical issues relating to analogue & digital broadcasting and cable TV services are invited to submit their proposals to the organisation and the chosen ones would be given 60 days to complete their reports for Trai.



And, why does Trai need the help of outside organisations? Having regard to the international scenario and the benefits that result from conversion to digital TV, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India proposes to examine the need for a national plan for digitalisation and other related issues, the organisation says on its website.

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