Regulators

TRAI extends time for draft tariff order comments for DTH interoperability methods

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MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has extended the deadline for comments by stakeholders on the draft Tariff Order prescribing framework for commercial interoperability of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) in DTH services. The draft was issued on 27 February, 2015 and invited comments/views from the stakeholders, latest by 13 March, 2015.

Now, at the request of stakeholders, the last date for receipt of written comments has been extended up to 19 March, 2015. The Authority has also decided that no request for further extension of time for submission of comments will be entertained.

It can be noted that TRAI had issued the draft Tariff Order for consultation, since in the DTH sector, as on date, CPEs deployed by one operator is not compatible with the network of another operator and a subscriber cannot migrate to another operator or platform without re-investing in another CPE.

According to the Authority, the interests of subscribers in this regard can be largely protected through the provision for commercial interoperability of CPEs. Commercial interoperability provides for a viable exit option to the subscribers in case they want to switch operator /platform.

The draft is aimed at striking a balance between the interests of the consumers and that of the service providers, as well as to curb piling up of e-waste on account of CPEs.

The draft also provides for declaration of the price of all types of CPEs, installation and activation charges and applicable taxes on CPEs by DTH operators; mandatory offering of standard scheme for all type of CPEs on a standalone basis by DTH operators, specifying separately the price of CPE, taxes, other charges etc; flexibility to DTH operators to offer other schemes; and flexibility to DTH operators to offer brand new as well as refurbished CPEs.

This paper also refers to provision of buy-back/refund option in all the offered schemes, including bundled schemes for CPEs; mechanism for buy-back/refund in the standard and other schemes for CPEs; provision of lock-in period for the purpose of refund in the offered schemes for CPEs if the subscriber wants to switch from one operator to the other; applicability of buy-back/refund option for all types of offered CPEs; option for the DTH operators to redeploy the surrendered CPEs; mechanism for registration of request for surrender of connection; and time-limit to settle refund/buy-back claims of the subscribers.

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