Regulators

Trai asks broadcasters, DPOs to comply with interconnection agreements regulations

The regulations that came into force on 2 January 2020 were challenged by AIDCF in the Kerala HC.

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Mumbai: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has asked broadcasters and distributors of TV channels to immediately implement the provisions of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Register of Interconnection Agreements and all such other matters Regulations, 2019.

The regulator has asked broadcasters and distributors to submit the compliance report within 15 days from the date of issue of the letter on 8 December failing which actions would be taken as per provisions of the said regulations and the Trai Act, 1997.

The regulations were supposed to come into force on 2 January 2020 but were challenged by the All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF) in the Kerala high court. The high court in its order dated 9 January 2020 had ordered that no coercive action will be taken by the respondents.

The court disposed of the said writ petition, in its judgement dated 12 July, and partially set aside the provisions of the said regulations to the extent they require registration of placement/marketing agreements. Thus, all the provisions of the said regulations, except to the extent they require registration of placement/marketing agreements, are in operation.

The regulator had developed a B&CS integrated portal system (BIPS) for the purpose of filing data/details pertaining to the said regulations. The regulations require broadcasters and DPOs to furnish, via their compliance officer, its reference interconnection offers when the same is published on their websites.

The regulations are applicable to all commercial and technical arrangements entered into by broadcasters, distributors of television channels and local cable operators for providing broadcasting services. If broadcasters and distributors default in complying with the provisions, then Trai would take action by imposing a financial disincentive.

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