Regulators

Discounts by broadcasters to be part of RIO to ensure transparency: TRAI

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NEW DELHI: In an effort to address the concerns of stakeholders, all broadcasters have been given the freedom to publish their reference interconnect orders (RIOs) encompassing terms and conditions that are clearly known to the distributors / multi-system operators.

The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulations 2017 notified by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has also mandated a time-bound framework for interconnect orders.

A cap has been put on discounts offered by broadcasters to DPOs to ensure that the subscriber gets realistic maximum retail price. Furthermore, these discounts have to be objectively defined in the RIO.

TRAI said this is expected to bring in level playing field and effective competition in the sector. While doing this, adequate flexibility and freedom has been   provided to service providers for innovation and business ingenuity in offering their services.

Transparent and non-discriminatory access to all types of distribution networks have been brought under the   regulatory framework. Besides mandating a framework of  RIO  for  charging of  carriage fee  on   transparent basis, a cap on  the  rate at which a DPO  can  charge carriage fee has been  prescribed. Further, it has also been provided that the carriage fee shall change with the change in subscription level of channels. In this way, entry for new channels in the market has been made predictable.

Other features include a common regulatory framework for all types of TV distribution platforms providing services through Addressable Systems; availability of signals to   service  providers on  non-exclusive  and non­discriminatory basis;  and ensuring  access  to   the    distribution  networks  for   re-transmission  of  TV channels on  all   types of  distribution  platforms on   non-exclusive and non- discriminatory basis.

The broadcasters and distributors will devise and design their RIOs for providing signals of TV channels and access to the distribution networks respectively, in conformance with the regulations and the tariff orders notified by the Authority, and declare the same.

There will be a time bound provisioning of signals of TV channels & access to the network on the basis of transparent RIO framework.

All Interconnection agreements will be signed between broadcasters and distributors on the basis of RIO.

A framework has been prescribed for reports & audits.

Complete details are available on

The initial interconnect regulations were brought out in October last year but had been stayed by the Madras High Court but that order was set aside in an appeal by TRAI in the Supreme Court.

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