Regulators

MSOs facing problems in signing interconnect deals with b'casters to inform TRAI by 24 August

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NEW DELHI: With just over four months left for implementation of Phase III of the Digital Addressable System (DAS) for cable operators, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked multi-system operators and broadcasters to expedite signing of inter-connect agreements.

Apart from pointing out that it had placed on its website a standardized form for this, TRAI stressed that the rules provide that an agreement has to be signed by registered MSOs with broadcasters within 60 days of receiving a request.  

TRAI said it had notified a comprehensive regulatory framework encompassing interconnection, quality of service, consumer complaint redressal regulation and tariff orders for implementation of   DAS.

The MSOs who have been granted registration for providing cable TV services through DAS are required to enter into interconnection agreements with pay TV broadcasters for re-transmission of pay TV channels to subscribers.

The Regulatory framework for DAS provides that every broadcaster shall provide the signals of TV channels to an MSO in accordance with its reference interconnect offer or as may be mutually agreed, within 60 days from the date of receipt of the request.

The Authority said that in case the request for providing signals of TV channels is not agreed to, the reasons for such refusal to provide signals will be conveyed to the person making a request within 60 days from the date of request. 

The MSOs who have approached pay TV broadcasters for providing signals of TV channels in accordance with the provisions of the interconnection regulations but have not been able to enter into interconnection agreements even after the passage of 60 days from the date of making request and also not received the reasons for not entering into interconnection agreement from the broadcaster may write to TRAI by 24 August through e-mail at das@trai.gov.in for initiating action in such cases according to the TRAI Act.

As the cutoff date for Phase-III areas – 31 December - is fast approaching, the registered MSOs were advised by TRAI to make a written request to the broadcasters of pay channels for provisioning of the signals of TV channels as per their business requirement, so that they get signals of pay TV channels well before the cutoff date.

The Authority said it had taken a number of initiatives to facilitate timely signing of interconnection agreements between broadcasters and MSOs. The Authority and broadcasters have uploaded standardised application form and contact details on their respective websites. For the convenience of the stakeholders, the details have also been uploaded on TRAI website.

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