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TRAI on carriage fee, other issues in draft interconnect guidelines

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NEW DELHI: After taking in to consideration the comments of the stakeholders and internal analysis in TRAI, the draft regulations [the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2016] along with its explanatory memorandum have been prepared.

The basic principles of non-exclusivity, non-discrimination, transparency, level playing field and fair completion have been retained in these draft regulations.

Some of the new features of the draft regulations are as follows:

(i) A common interconnection framework for all addressable systems namely DTH, HITS, DAS and IPTV.

(ii) “Must carry” provision for all addressable systems, on first come first serve basis. DPOs to publish information about its platform including available capacity and declare the rate of carriage fee.

(iii) No carriage fee is to be paid by a broadcaster if the subscription of the channel is more than or equal to 20 per cent of the subscriber base.

(iv) The rate of carriage fee has been capped at 20 paisa per channel per subscriber per month. Further, the carriage fee amount will decrease with increase in subscription.

(v) The distributors of TV channels may offer discounts on the carriage fee rate declared by them not exceeding 35% of the rate of the carriage fee declared.

(vi) The interconnection agreements to be signed in accordance with the Reference Interconnection Offer (RIO).

(vii) Broadcaster to offer to a distributor, a minimum of 20% of the maximum retail price of its pay channel(s) or bouquet(s) of pay channels as distribution fee. They may also offer discounts on the maximum retail price provided that the sum of discounts and distribution fee in no case shall exceed 35% of the maximum retail price, so declared.

(viii) Standard format of application for DPOs for obtaining signals of television channel(s) from broadcaster and standard format of application for a broadcaster for access of network from distributor for re-transmission of a television channel(s).

(ix) Format of subscription report to be provided by a DPOs to a broadcaster including free to air channels.

(x) Updation in the technical specification for addressable systems.

(xi) The framework for subscription audit & technical audits.

(xii) Extension of Model Interconnection Agreement (MIA) and Standard Interconnection Agreement (SIA) framework applicable for MSOs to HITS and IPTV operators.

Keep tuned in for more details.

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