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TRAI issues draft regulation to facilitate consumer choice of TV channels using API

It will be open for comments up to 22 August.

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MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Friday issued the draft (Second Amendment) to the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection (Addressable Systems) Regulations 2017. Through this draft regulation (second amendment), TRAI is seeking the comments of stakeholders on the issue of developing of app by third parties and consequent sharing of information using Application Program Interface (API) between DPOs and consumers.

The new tariff order rolled out in the beginning of this year put power in consumers’ hand to select television channels they want to watch. To ensure proper implementation of the new framework, the authority has made a number of efforts such as series of meetings with DPOs, publicity in electronic and news media, interactions with customer groups etc. Despite all the efforts, it has been brought to notice of the authority that consumers are not able to make real choice of TV channels.

“It was noticed that quite a few DPO platforms were not providing adequate freedom and choice to consumers. Customers also complained that the call centre of DPOs are also not helping to facilitate consumer choice of the channels,” TRAI said in a release.

To resolve the issues, the authority felt need to have channel selection system developed by third party to facilitate easy channel selection by consumers. As per TRAI, since the third party app will be accessible by every customer of Broadcasting & Cables Services sector,  it will facilitate easy choice to consumers.

To facilitate functioning of third-party apps, TRAI created channel selection system API specifications document which prescribed common APIs with all distribution platform operators (DPO). TRAI intends to mandate all the DPOs to compulsorily share information with the apps after authenticating the subscriber so that such apps can help in easy selection of the required TV channels.

The newly issued draft regulation (second amendment) issued shall be open for comments of the stakeholders up to 22 August. 

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