Television

DTH: Trai supports interoperability, MDU tech

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NEW DELHI: Keeping up its busy schedule on industry related issues, India's broadcast regulator came out with suggestions on DTH regulations today. The regulator has pitched for mandatory interoperability for DTH services and has okayed multi- dwelling unit (MDU) technology with certain riders in consumer interest.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) today said that the new set of recommendations provide for "clarifications to certain provisions of the (DTH) licensing conditions" and guidelines to be followed in the adoption of MDU technology, which is basically perceived to be in consumer interest.

According to Trai, the suggested guidelines relating to DTH will ensure that "interests of the consumers," cable operators and other DTH players are protected.

Some of the major DTH recommendations are as follows:

# Personal Video Recorders and Interoperability: There should not be any amendment in Articles 7.1 and 7.2 of the DTH license agreement, which mandate technical interoperability among DTH service providers.

# The license conditions should be amended to provide for casting an obligation on the service provider to inform and educate the consumers about the limited technical interoperability of the Set Top Boxes with Personal Video Recorders/Digital Video Recorders.

# Uplinking and Platform Services: The guidelines for uplinking from India should be amended to exclude DTH platform services aimed at enabling the subscribers to utilize the platform efficiently and informing them of platform functionality and services.

# MDU technology: The DTH license conditions should be amended to specifically permit use of MDU technology subject to the following conditions:
a. The DTH service provider should not insist on any exclusive arrangement for installation of MDU technology to the detriment of other distributors of TV channels.
b. Signals from the MDU technology shall not be provided to a consumer outside the multi-dwelling unit building, where the MDU technology is installed.
c. The MDU technology should not carry the content from any other service provider other than the DTH service provider and
d. The DTH operator shall obtain written consent from those subscribers living in a multiple dwelling unit who are desirous of availing the facility of MDU technology, before installing the same. A general permission obtained from office bearers of the Residents Welfare Association/group housing society will not be considered sufficient.

The government had sought Trai's views regarding certain issues relating to the licensing provisions of DTH. A full text of Trai's suggestions could be accessed at www.trai.gov.in.

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