Regulators

Trai to form committee for smooth rollout of NTO 2.0

Cable operators write to Trai seeking representation of LCOs in the committee.

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Mumbai: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has decided to form a committee with representation from leading pay TV industry associations to ensure the smooth implementation of the New Regulatory Framework 2020 and identify impediments with counter-measures for the overall growth of the broadcast sector.

In a letter dated 22 December, accessed by Indiantelevision.com, Trai had asked the Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF), the All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF), and the DTH association to nominate a maximum of two representatives to be part of the implementation committee.

Early this November, the regulator had notified stakeholders that implementation of the new tariff order (NTO 2.0) would be delayed until 1 April 2022. This decision was taken after various stakeholders expressed concerns to the regulator with respect to the timeframe for migration of 150 million pay TV consumers and sufficient time for service providers to upgrade their IT systems and incorporate various channels/bouquets before offering the same to consumers.

In the latest development, Delhi-based Cable Operators Welfare Federation (COWF) has written to Trai to be a part of the implementation committee and include two local cable operator (LCO) representatives from four zones or four representatives from the All India Federation. “LCOs deserve to be treated as frontline workers who touch base with each subscriber at least once a month. During the implementation of the regulatory framework the best way to reach the subscriber is to communicate in person, in their language, using printed handouts to evaluate options and help subscribers make a well-informed decision,” the letter reads.

The LCOs also argue that market discovery of prices of pay-TV channels and consumption pattern evolution cannot be back-end driven, rather the front-end instructions should drive the backend. “The DPOs manage the back-end that would implement the service requests coming in from the front-end and therefore should not impose any packages and choices on subscribers," it added.

COWF has now also written to prime minister Narendra Modi to halt the implementation of new tariff framework, discard NTO 2.0, and consider making "cable-operator friendly amendments" in Digital Addressable Systems (DAS) law. The operators also suggest that linear TV channels no longer be distributed on OTT platforms. They lettered dated 29 November, also says that the NTO 2.0 regulation will increase unemployment and result in the downturn of lakhs of people employed by the cable TV industry.

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