TRAI issues consultation paper on technical specs for CAS, SMS compliance

Broadcasters had complained about pirated signals.

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a consultation paper seeking comments on standardising CAS and SMS systems for broadcast and cable TV.  

Pursuant to the full digitisation of the cable sector in India, which concluded by 31 June 2017, the focus should now be on CAS and SMS as TRAI says they “form the core systems to deliver the broadcasting services to consumers as per their individual choices, by enabling encryption to ensure content security.”

The technical requirements for CAS and SMS are generic and allow for different type of CAS and SMS systems to exist in the ecosystem. “While some of the CASs deployed are using advance embedded security, others are based on non-standard solutions making it vulnerable to hacking, thereby putting content security at risk,” says the TRAI notification.

Additionally, most CAS companies don’t have their own SMS, middleware and user interface, increasing the dependency on third-party solutions. DPOs also lack the technical expertise to have an in-house mechanism.

“The authority received complaints from various broadcasters on a regular basis regarding the piracy and distribution of pirated signals. As per analysis much of such piracy occurs due to deployment of CAS/ SMS that do not fully comply with security protocols as per extant standards. Stakeholders raised this issue as one of the major concerns during the annual chief executive officers' interaction with the authority held on 14 January 2020,” says TRAI.

With these issues in mind, TRAI felt that “these concerns reflect a need for compliance with minimum technical specifications before a CAS/SMS systems is installed in the network. With this background, TRAI brings out this consultation paper on suo-moto basis. The paper endeavours to deliberate upon the issues arising out of deployment of sub-standard CAS and SMS systems, underlying ill-effects and possible remedial measures.”

Comments to the consultation paper are requested by 20 May 2020 and counter-comments by 3 June 2020.

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