TRAI studying concerns of service providers about inter-operability of set top boxes for cable television

NEW DELHI: Some service providers have raised concerns about feasibility of technical interoperability of set top boxes to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

TRAI, which is considering interoperability to enable consumers to switch to other service providers if they are not satisfied, says the objections relate to technical and commercial reasons. TRAI sources said the regulator is currently in a consultative process to understand their concerns before arriving at a solution.The objective of STB inter-operability is to make available STBs in open market, which will provide an exit option to the consumers who want to change their service providers due to some reasons or the other.This is expected to facilitate competition and improve quality of services offered to the consumers TRAI feels.

The regulatory framework of TRAI mandates the commercial interoperability by prescribing that the STBs/Customer Premises Equipments (CPE) to be provided on outright purchase basis, hire purchase basis and rental basis.

TRAI has also notified Tariff orders for Digital Addressable Cable TV Systems which prescribes a standard tariff package for offering of STBs to the subscribers. This tariff order provides an easy exit option to the subscribers and ensures availability of STBs at reasonable price while protecting the interest of the service providers.

Similarly for DTH services, TRAI has prescribed a tariff order which prescribes certain restrictions on the DTH operators offering schemes of Customer Premises Equipment. The tariff order for DTH services - the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Seventh) (the Direct to Home Services) Tariff Order 2015 of 1 April last year - has been challenged and is sub judice.

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