TRAI extends time on consultation paper on VAS by cable and DTH ops

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India today decided to give more time to stakeholders to respond to its consultation paper on regulatory framework for platform services.

Stakeholders can now respond by 29 July with counter-comments by 5 August following request by stakeholders.

Some of the issues the paper issued on 23 June had raised include questions on whether services issued by TV channels should be defined as broadcast channels or value-added services. TRAI is also seeking the stakeholders’ opinion on issues such as the kind of content that platform services should be allowed to transmit. Issues, registration process, security clearances, limits on geographical reach of these channels, compliance with advertising and content code, and conditions of imposing penal provisions in case of violations have also been raised.

All cable TV and DTH operators offer different kinds of programming services that are only shown on their platform but not obtained from broadcasters. These are called platform services. These include movies, music or local news channels offered by the cable operator as well as value-added services such as ‘movie on demand’ and ‘pay per view’ services offered by the DTH players.

The Regulator’s move to regulate platform services comes after the Information and Broadcasting Ministry expressed concern about the transmission of these local channels over a wide geographical area, like any other national or regional channel, without obtaining any permission from the Ministry.

The Ministry note said it believed that a proper regulatory framework is required to govern these channels and value-added services since programming is similar to the programmes transmitted by regular TV channels. 

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