KYC imperative to curb smuggling of DTH STBs outside India: IBF

Broadcasters comment on TRAI’s consultation paper on 'KYC of DTH Set Top Boxes'


MUMBAI: Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has shared its view on the consultation paper by TRAI on ‘KYC of DTH Set Top Boxes’. The association is of view that there is an absolute and an imminent need for introduction and proper enforcement of meaningful KYC or e-KYC stipulations of DTH STBs.

The association believes that the step is necessary to curb smuggling of DTH STBs outside India and to bring in some level of threshold checks to counter the menace of piracy.

“It is submitted that DTH STBs get rampantly smuggled to territories outside of India where they get used for illegal and unauthorised reception and/or retransmission of signals of channels. Due to such piracy, broadcasters face huge / irreparable revenue losses. Hence, there is a need for mandating KYC or e-KYC for DTH STBs to avoid smuggling of STBs overseas,” said IBF in its comments to TRAI.

The association further informed, “DTH platforms in India are permitted to have subscribers only within the territory of India however, numerous unauthorised STBs of Indian DTH operators are reported to be active and functioning beyond the Indian territory due to the satellite footprints overspill. (For example – signals of DTH operators intended for Indian audience are also available in Middle-East, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Maldives, Nepal, Myanmar etc.).”

“In case DTH STBs are found to be in use at a location other than the one specified at the time of installation, then KYC or e-KYC will enable the applicable DTH platform operator to directly approach the customer to investigate why and how such DTH STB was shifted / moved to the unauthorised premises / location. This will also quicken the process of nabbing the perpetrator in case of misuse of DTH STBs,” IBF suggested.

The association also suggested that that initially the KYC or e-KYC should be completed at the time of installation. Post initial verification, random verification can be done on a periodic basis to ensure that STB is not moved from its installation address. Periodicity of such inspection can be at such reasonable intervals as may be decided basis discussion and consultation with relevant stakeholders however, with a gap of at least three months between each visit.

The association has also supported incorporation of LBS in the existing DTH STBs. It also believes that the same should be mandated for all new STBs of all DPOs to track location and facilitate verification.

“Keeping in view the growing penetration of DTH STBs and other DPOs, the security of the broadcasters’ content is of paramount importance and this will also help the DPOs to minimise their own revenue loss,” said IBF.

ABP News, Sony Pictures Network and Times Network also shared their comments on the consultation paper. Agreeing to IBF’s view, all three broadcasters also feel that there is a need for KYC and e-KYC of set top boxes to prevent illegal use of STBs in India.

Times Network suggested, “The KYC process should be designed in such a way that it is driven by technology and causes minimum disturbance to the users while at the same time achieves its desired purpose. If it is too cumbersome, it may deviate a part of subscriber to other modes like cable etc., where the KYC norms are not applied, thereby affecting the DTH business prospects in India.”

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