TRAI extends time for interconnect agreement reactions

NEW DELHI: Several stakeholders have complained to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India that most consumers are not even aware of the rates of various television channels and so the local cable operators were at the receiving end as they had to deal with the viewers.

At an Open House discussion on the interconnection network for broadcasting TV Services distributed through addressable systems most stakeholders comprosing local cable operators and multi system operators raised issues that they said needed greater introspection. Cable Operators President of India President Roop Sharma said there was shortage of set top boxes and the consumer was not aware of what STB he should acquire.

K K Sharma who edits Cable Quest said that no attention had been paid to the entry of OTT and the cross ownership that has come with this new phenomenon. The agreement has to be clear on this issue.

Later, TRAI extended the date by one week to 10 June for comments on its consultation paper on
Interconnect agreements for DAS areas. The date for counter-comments will remain the same – 17 June.

TRAI had asked stakeholders to give suggestions on how a level playing can be created among different service providers using different addressable systems.

It wanted to know whether there should be a common interconnection regulatory framework be mandated for all types of addressable systems.

In the Consultation Paper issued on 4 May, it asked if there is any need to allow agreements based on mutually agreed terms, which donot form part of RIO, in digital addressable systems where calculation of fee can be based on subscription numbers. .

The Paper has been issued not merely because the country is marching towards the last phase of DAS, but also in view of several judgments of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal where it has disallowed payments in the absence of agreements despite mutual oral agreements.

TRAI wants to know how the interconnection agreements entered on mutually agreed terms meet the requirement of providing a levelplaying field amongst service providers can be ensured, and the ways for effectively implementing non-discrimination on ground.

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