Regulators

CAS switchover modalities will hit broadcasters, MSOs hard; Trai to have final say

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2016/06/08/Trai_1.jpg?itok=dPJ0YksF

MUMBAI: A day after the government issued a notification setting 31 December, 2006 as the deadline for the three metros of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata to be fully "CAS delivered", it fired the real bombshell - the framework under which addressability would be introduced in the notified areas.

The backdated (31 July) notification covers a whole range of conditions that impact all constituents of the cable service delivery chain - broadcasters, cable MSOs, last mile operators. It even delves into issues of advertising.

Interestingly, embedded in the fine print of the notification is a clause that allows the government to extend the time frame for the CAS switchover if it believes that the arrangements made by MSOs are inadequate and therefore "likely to be against the interests of a substantial portion of the subscribers in any notified area."

Tasked with overseeing all this is the cable and broadcast regulator which has been given extraordinary powers in regards to the switchover to addressability in the areas that fall under the CAS notification - the Kolkata Metropolitan areas, the areas covered by the Municipal Council of Greater Mumbai and the National Capital Region of Delhi.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), will be the final word on not just pricing of pay channels, but also in the granting of permission to cable service providers to offer addressable services, among a host of other extremely restrictive conditionalities. Some of the key issues the notification covers are:

Interconnect Agreements
It is Trai that will determine the "standard interconnection agreement to be used for entering into commercial agreements for distribution in the notified areas, of pay or free-to-air channels among (i) broadcasters and multi-system operators; and (ii) MSOs and local cable operators."

(a) Trai will set the maximum limits of security deposit and monthly rental for supply, maintenance and servicing of set top boxes of prescribed specifications to the subscribers on rental basis by multi-system operators in the notified areas;

(b) tariff for the basic service tier along with the minimum number of free-to-air channels to be provided by the multi-system operators or local cable operators to the subscribers in the notified areas;

(c) regulations for quality of service to be provided by the multi- system operators or local cable operators to the subscribers in the notified areas.

Channel Pricing
(1) Every broadcaster will have to declare the nature of each of its channels as 'pay' or 'free-to-air' channel as well as the maximum retail price of each of its 'pay' channels to be charged by the multi-system operators or local cable operators from the subscribers in each of the notified areas.

(2) Each broadcaster will have to file the declaration of the nature and prices of channels within 15 days of the date of notification by the government.

(3) If Trai believes the price declared by the broadcaster for any of its pay channels is too high, it has the right to fix and declare the maximum retail price of such a pay channel or fix a general maximum retail price for all pay channels within which the broadcasters may declare their individual prices for each pay channel.

Any order issued in this regard by the regulator will be binding on the broadcasters and the multi-system operators and local cable operators.

(5) If a broadcaster fails to declare the price of any of its pay channels within the prescribed time limit, or fails to comply with the direction or refuses or fails to enter into an interconnect agreement with a MSO permitted by the government within the prescribed time limit, the authority can take interim measures to ensure supply of
signals.

(6) If the broadcaster does not comply with the directives issued by Trai, the government may, if asked to do so by the regulator, suspend permission to broadcast the channel in the country.

(7) Every declaration on pricing filed by the broadcaster will remain valid for one Year. If the broadcaster wants to revise the price of any channel or convert a pay channel to free-to-air or a free-to-air channel to a pay channel, it will have to give one month's notice to the MSO and subscribers:

MSOs, Cable Ops Will Need Government Permission To Operate
(1) No multi-system operator can provide addressable cable services without permission from the government.

(2) Every MSO has been given 30 days to apply to the I&B ministry for permission to operate, along with a processing fee of Rs 10,000.

(3) After receiving the application, the I&B ministry has 30 days to either grant or refuse permission on the basis of information that will include existing operational area, actual number of subscribers and addresses of its local cable operators in each of the notified areas, commercial arrangements with the broadcasters and local cable operators, if any, financial strength, management capability, security clearance and preparedness to supply and maintain adequate number of set top boxes for its subscribers, installation of its subscriber management system and compliance with all other quality of service standards that may be specified by Trai.

(4) In the event of an MSO failing or refusing to enter into interconnect agreements with a broadcaster of a pay channel or an adequate number of local cable operators in the notified areas or violates the terms and conditions laid down, Trai can take interim measures to ensure supply of signals. Though what these interim measures might involve is not spelt out, it would appear to indicate that the licence to operate would in that particular area would be given to some other MSO.

(5) MSOs violating the terms and conditions laid down by Trai face revocation of their licence.

Public Awareness Campaign About CAS
(1) Every MSO will have to adequately publicise to its subscribers for a period of 30 days, either through advertisements in the print and electronic media or through other means (e.g. leaflets, printing on the reverse of the receipts, personal visits, group meetings with subscribers or consumer groups etc.) the salient features of the CAS scheme.

These will include:-
(a) A-la-carte subscription rates and the periodic intervals at which such subscriptions are payable for receiving the various pay channels;

(b) The refundable security deposit and the daily or monthly rental payable for the set-top box and its detailed specifications such as make, model, technical specifications, user manuals and maintenance centres etc.;

(c) The number and names of free-to-air channels that the multi-system operator will provide to the subscribers and specific placement of each channel in the prime or non-prime bands;

(d) The prescribed monthly service charge to be paid by each subscriber for receiving the basic tier service and the number of additional free-to-air channels, if any, offered by the MSO.

(e) The quality of service standards specified by Trai and the arrangements made by the MSO to comply with these standards;

(f) The subscriber management system established by the MSO to demonstrate the functioning of the STBs and interact with the subscribers to explain the various financial, logistic and technical aspects of the system for its smooth implementation;

(g) The arrangements for resolution of disputes between the MSO, LCOs, and subscribers in respect of the quality of service standards, payments and refunds etc.

(2) The Authority may also arrange public awareness activities in the notified areas either directly or through authorized officers or consumer organizations etc..

Supply And Installation of STBs
(1) Every subscriber who wants to receive one or more pay channels shall, during the public awareness campaign or within 15 days after its expiry, apply to any one of the MSOs granted permission either directly or through any of his linked LCOs, to supply and install one or more set top boxes in his premises as per the scheme approved by Trai and deliver the requisite channels through the same:

Provided that every subscriber shall be free to buy an STB of approved quality from the open market, if available and technically compatible with the MSO's system. No MSO or cable operator can force any subscriber to buy or to take on rent the STB from him only.

(2) Every subscriber who wants to receive one or more pay channels can either buy an technically compatible STB from the open market or apply to anyone of the MSOs either directly or through any of his linked LCOs, to supply and install one or more STBs in his.

(3) Every MSO will have to set up and operationalise its subscriber management system within the determined time frame.

Dispute Resolution Mechanism
Every multi-system operator shall be obliged to maintain the quality of service as per the standards, including the arrangements for handling complaints and redressal of grievances of the subscribers, as may be determined by regulation or order by the Authority. The Authority may look into the efficacy of such arrangements and issue necessary directions to the concerned parties for compliance.

Transition To Addressable Systems
(1) Immediately on operationalisation of the SMS and the installation of STBs, every MSO will have to provide pay channels in encrypted as well as unencrypted form for a period of not less than 15 days to test out the quality of service, remove any technical or operational snags and enable the subscribers to become familiar with the operation of addressable systems at their end.

(2) Before the start of the transition period Trai can call for progress or compliance reports from the service providers.

(3) If Trai is of the opinion that the arrangements made by the MSOs are not adequate and the switchover to CAS is likely to be against the interests of a substantial portion of the subscribers in any notified area, it may recommend to the government an extension of the notified date by such period as in its opinion is the minimum required for the satisfactory completion of the necessary arrangements by the MSOs.

Advertisements
No programme shall carry advertisements exceeding 12 minutes per hour, which may include up to ten minutes per hour of commercial advertisements, and up to two minutes per hour of a channel's self-promotional programmes.

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/06/15/TRAI-Story.jpg?itok=DG6FpPrj
TRAI, European regulator BERC sign net neutrality MoU

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) on Thursday signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" (MoU) on net nuetrality. The MoU, signed by TRAI chairman Ram Sewak Sharma and BEREC chair Johannes Gungl, also adopted a "Joint...

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/06/14/isro.jpg?itok=OyTK1iHT
ISRO/DoS relent on use of foreign satellites; MIB starts processing applications

MUMBAI: India’s Department of Space, overseeing the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has eased up on its hitherto hard stance on Indian TV channels and teleports using foreign satellites’ capacity --- if the Indian customer has a long-term contract. In a communication to Ministry of...

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/06/12/wifi.jpg?itok=cSQbky2u
RS Prasad launches Wi-Fi choupal project

NEW DELHI: The Indian government on Monday said that 5,000 villages would be turned into digital villages where Internet services would be offered the Wi-Fi Choupal project, which would go a long in empowering people as also expose them to a host of e-governance and entertainment services.  

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/06/06/mib.jpg?itok=XurAtv3e
MIB & Prasar Bharati make up, sign agreement on funds’ release

After lot of heartburning and media statements, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Ministry and Prasar Bharati, which runs Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR), have inked an agreement that was required for the release of financial allocation to the pubcaster, PTI reported today quoting...

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/06/05/trai1-800x800%20%281%29.jpg?itok=seicu3br
TRAI stands up to DoT on use of foreign satellites for comms services on aircrafts

India’s telecoms and broadcast regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India today stood up again for the lawful right of satellite industry stakeholders. It reiterated that the nation’s policies and guidelines for on- board aircraft communications services like broadband should also allow use...

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/06/04/MIB-social_media.jpg?itok=z36DQe_L
MIB social media monitoring cell tender deadline extended

NEW DELHI: The Big Brother has arrived? Well the Indian government, being accused of proposing to unleash a surveillance of citizens, has gone in for another extension of the deadline seeking vendors for technical and logistics help to set up such a center.

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/06/01/mib.jpg?itok=dHBuuNg4
MIB's new secy Amit Khare joins office

NEW DELHI: In what could be termed as challenging times, Amit Khare (third from left in the pix) yesterday assumed charge as secretary in the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting on superannuation of Narendra Kumar Sinha.

Regulators People
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/05/31/star.jpg?itok=_5-mKsbr
Star files caveat in Supreme Court on TRAI tariff order

So the slugfest on the pricing of digital television in India is entering the next round. And it is Star India which has approached the Supreme Court and filed a caveat with it on the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)’s tariff regulations and more specifically on the 15 per cent issue...

Regulators Supreme Court
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/05/29/Delhi%20high%20court.jpg?itok=0wYBu_Zy
HC orders stay on MIB's licence cancellation directive to Alliance Broadcasting

MUMBAI: The Delhi High Court has ordered a stay on a Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) directive to a channel where it had withdrawn the channel’s licence stating that it lacked security clearance.

Regulators High Court

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories