TRAI issues draft regulations on register of interconnect agreements, wants comments by 25 April

New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India today asked stakeholders to give their views on the periodicity and authenticity of the proposed register of interconnect agreements, apart from the format for such a register.

Stakeholders have been asked to post their comments by 25 April with counter-comments, if any, by 5 May to a consultation paper and a draft of the Register of Interconnect Agreements (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Regulations 2016.

The primary objective of register of interconnection regulations is to prescribe the contours of a reporting system to service providers to report interconnection agreement details to the Authority so as to enable it to maintain a register of interconnect agreements as per the provisions of TRAI Act. It is also useful for monitoring and analyzing market practices prevailing for interconnection agreements. Presently, the regulations mandate service providers to report the prescribed information annually.

One clause of the draft register is for ‘Reporting of information, relating to interconnect agreements, by broadcaster of pay channel and the distributor of TV channel’. It says every broadcaster of pay channel and distributor of TV Channel shall report the information relating to all interconnect agreements entered into by them or modifications or amendments or addendums thereto which have been signed before and after coming into effect of the regulations that are valid as on the date of commencement of the regulations and shall be reported within one month for the previous ones and by tenth of the month for the new ones.

A para on format of reports says: “Subject to the provisions contained in regulation 5 of the regulations, the broadcaster of pay channel and the distributor of TV Channel , as the case may be, shall furnish to the Authority, the information relating to the interconnect agreements in the formats specified in Schedule-I ( Format for broadcasters of pay channels), Schedule-II (Format for MSO and HITS Operator) or Schedule-III (Format DTH and IPTV Service provider) of the regulations as applicable.”

Stakeholders have been asked to provide suggestions on this regulation of draft regulations and also the formats given in schedules and told that they can also suggest modified format for reporting to make it simple and easy to file.

TRAI also wants comments on how it can be ensured that service providers report accurate details in compliance of regulations, and on digitally signed method of reporting the information.

TRAI wants to know why all information including commercial portion of register should not be made accessible to any interested stakeholders, and if the commercial information is to be made accessible, in which way can this commercial information be made accessible to fulfill the objective of non-discrimination.

If the commercial information is not made accessible to stakeholders, then in what form the provisions under clause (vii) and (viii) of Section 11 (1) (b) of TRAI Act be implemented in broadcasting and cable sector so that the objective of non-discrimination is also met simultaneously, the stakeholders have to state.

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