Trai paper seeks to streamline uplinking, downlinking norms

MUMBAI: Following a prod from the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) additional secretary Jayashree Mukherjee, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on 19 December issued an industry consultation paper which seeks to update guidelines related to uplinking, downlinking, of TV channels and the setting up of teleports.

Mukherjee had sought the TRAI’s recommendations on these issues keeping in mind changes in technology, market scenarios and lessons learnt over the past six years since the guidelines were passed.  

In its paper, Trai has asked stakeholders, such as broadcasters, if there was any need to redefine news and current affairs TV channels and non-news and current affairs TV channels more specifically.

Pointing at a possible hike in the net-worth requirement of Rs 5 crore for obtaining a licence for uplinking or downlinking of TV channels, and an increase in process fees for applicants, the paper states that non-serious players were able to obtain licenses, which were either traded or leased to a different entity.

“To  ensure  that  only  serious  players,  who  are  interested  in  the business of satellite TV channels, apply for obtaining license for  uplinking  or downlinking of TV channels, one way could be to increase the entry barriers. The other way could be to eliminate the incentives, which encourage trading and/or sub-leasing of licenses. Further, sub-leasing or trading of channels can also be controlled by putting in place certain checks, which discourage such practices,” the release stated.

The paper argues that an increase in entry barriers for uplinking of TV channels from India may encourage diversion of such business opportunities to outside India. Moreover, Trai has raised the question of auctioning satellite TV channels as a complete package similar to FM radio channels. Or if industry thinks that it is possible to auction individual legs of satellite TV broadcasting – uplinking space spectrum, transponder capacity?

And it has opened up an issue which has been a sore point for the industry: if it is advisable to restrict the use of foreign satellites for satellite TV broadcasting or uplinking of satellite TV channels to be downlinked in India from foreign soil? And also whether it is possible to auction channels without restricting the use of foreign satellites and uplinking of signals of TV channels from foreign soils. The paper appeals to stakeholders if there could be a better way to grant a licence for a TV satellite channel then what is presently followed in order to simply the procedure.

Other issues the TRAI is seeking industry’s input on is whether encryption of all satellite TV signals – whether free to air or pay TV and what timeline should be given to licensed broadcasters to launch their channels from the date of issue of a licence and the penalties that should be levied on them in case they fail to restore their disrupted channels within a specified period. The consultation paper also approaches sensitive issues such as terms of  the tradeability of licences by a licencee.  

On the teleport side, the TRAI is seeking to get industry’s understanding of what a teleport should be defined as in a new digital era, the licensing norms, fee structures for processing a licence, if there is a need to restrict the number of teleports in India, and their location like say in a park.

The industry watchdog has requested that industry sends in its inputs by 18 January 2018.

Also Read: TRAI sees merit in using satcom for broadband delivery

TRAI's Consultation Paper on VoIP can affect mobile TV, IPTV

MSOs move Madras HC seeking relief on inter-connect pacts

Latest Reads
I&B ministry grants registration to 10 MSOs in May, June

KOLKATA: The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has published a document listing all the registered multi-system operators (MSO) in the country. As per the document, there are 1664 registered MSOs in India as on 25 June 2020. Six and four MSOs were granted registration in the month of...

Regulators I&B Ministry
Prasar Bharati reviewing contract with Press Trust of India

Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati is said to be reconsidering its equation with news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) and is learnt to have sent a letter to the news agency over its reporting.

Regulators I&B Ministry
TRAI launches channel selector app

MUMBAI: In a move to facilitate consumers to view their TV subscription and choose the channels of their interest while removing the unwanted ones, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India launched a channel selector app.  TRAI said that after issuing the new tariff order for broadcasting services...

Regulators TRAI
TRAI reiterates need for converged regulatory regime for telecom & broadcasting services

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) again highlighted the need for a converged regulatory regime for telecom and broadcasting services in India following the model of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in US and Office of Communications (OfCom) in the UK.

Regulators TRAI
TRAI consultation paper: Tech players echo need for defined CAS/SMS framework

The irregularities in the conditional access system (CAS) and subscriber management systems (SMS), the key pillars of delivering broadcast services in the digitised era,  have been major concerns for stakeholders.

Regulators TRAI
Modi 2.0: The year gone by for I&B ministry

The ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) recently completed one year in its second term in office at a time when the world reels under the novel SarsCoV2 crises. Through this year, the government has taken several key decisions and measures which have kept the ministry of information and broadcasting...

Regulators I&B Ministry
TRAI consultation: B'casters insist on framework, stakeholder-based industry body for CAS/SMS

While one of the prime targets of digitisation, the cable industry, was bringing transparency, the irregularities in the conditional access system (CAS) and subscriber management systems (SMS) have been major concerns for broadcasters.

Regulators TRAI
TRAI's consultation: DPOs favour defined CAS/SMS framework; Tata Sky, Airtel, IMCL differ

Conditional access system (CAS) and subscriber management systems (SMS) are two key pillars of delivering broadcast services in a secured and encrypted manner to authorised subscribers. However, existing technical requirements for CAS and SMS are generic in nature allowing all type of CAS and SMS...

Regulators TRAI
I&B ministry extends deadline to submit comments on draft policy guidelines for uplinking, downlinking

The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has extended the time till 7 June for submitting suggestions or comments on draft policy guidelines for uplinking and downlinking of television channels. MIB published the guidelines on 30 April.

Regulators I&B Ministry

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required