TRAI considers independent auditors for DAS audits

MUMBAI: In a bid to improve transparency, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is mulling the virtue of having on board independent auditors for the technical and subscription audit of the digital addressable system (DAS) of distribution platform operators (DPOs).

In a consultation paper titled ‘Empanelment of Auditors for Digital Addressable Systems,’ the regulator is seeking views of stakeholders on various audit-empanelment related issues, such as scope of audit, eligibility criteria and experience, length of empanelment, audit fee and payment terms, time period for completion of audit work, de-empanelment, and reporting requirements of auditors. The consultation process will enable the TRAI to prepare a comprehensive document to seek proposals from auditors in line with the industry requirement and formulate guidelines to auditors.

Written comments on the paper have been invited from the stakeholders by 22 January 2018 and counter-comments by 7 February 2018. The TRAI clarified that the empanelment of the auditors and other related activities would be done only after the ongoing matter pending before the Madras and Delhi high courts was decided.

The interconnection regulations that form a part of the regulatory framework for DAS have provisions relating to technical audit and subscription audit, wherein it has been provided that the authority may empanel auditors for this purpose. Distributors such as multi-system operators (MSO), direct-to-home (DTH) operators, headend in the sky (HITS) and IPTV operators are required to install digital headends, including Subscriber Management System (SMS) and Conditional Access System (CAS) for distributing signals of TV channels through digital addressable systems. To have a level playing field amongst all the distributors, the authority has prescribed minimum technical specifications for addressable systems.

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