TRAI releases draft amendments to the Interconnection Regulations

TRAI releases draft amendments to the Interconnection Regulations applicable for Digital Addressable Cable Television Systems (DAS) and Tariff Order applicable for all addressable systems 

TRAI has today released the draft Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection (Digital Addressable Cable Television Systems) (Second Amendment) Regulations, 2013 and the draft Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Fourth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff (Second Amendment) Order, 2013, seeking comments of the stakeholders.

Earlier, TRAI had notified the Interconnection Regulations for DAS dated 30.04.2012, as amended on 14.05.2012 and the Tariff Order applicable for the Addressable Systems dated 21.07.2010, as amended on 30.04.2012.

On 20th December, 2012 TRAI had issued a consultation paper on Issues related to amendments to the Interconnection Regulations applicable for Digital Addressable Cable TV Systems & Tariff Order applicable for Addressable Systems in view of the Hon™ble TDSAT judgment dated 19.10.2012, representations from industry stakeholders and internal review within TRAI. As part of this consultation process, TRAI has come up with these draft amendments to the said Interconnection Regulations and the Tariff Order. The key amendments proposed in these draft amendments are as under:

¢ Multi system operators (MSOs) cannot seeks signals of a particular TV channel from a broadcaster, under ˜must provide™ clause, while at the same time demanding carriage fee for carrying that channel on its distribution platform.

¢ No minimum channel carrying capacity has been prescribed for the MSOs. However, the MSOs are mandated to carry the channels of broadcasters on non-discriminatory basis under the ˜Must Carry™ provision.

¢ The service providers of the Addressable Systems are allowed to price and package their offering of channels, however, they are required to comply with the modified twin conditions, as proposed in the draft amendment to the Tariff Order. This is to ensure that the a-la-carte rates offered to the subscribers are reasonable vis-à-vis the bouquet/package rates.

¢ As in the case of pay channels, operators can specify a minimum subscription period, not exceeding three months, for Free-to-Air (FTA) channels subscribed on a-la-carte basis by the subscribers.

¢ Subscribers are free to choose channels on a-la-carte basis or bouquet/package basis or any combination of a-la-carte and bouquet/package.

¢ Channels, such as HD or 3D, requiring special type of STB, are to be offered on a-la-carte basis and if such channels are also offered as a part of a bouquet(s), corresponding to each such bouquet, the operator would be required to offer bouquet(s) excluding the HD and 3D channels, at a reduced price, commensurate to the rates of these HD and 3D channels.

Full text of these draft amendments are available here.

Draft Telecommunication (Broadcasting And Cable Services) Interconnection (Digital Addressable Cable Television Systems) (Second Amendment) Regulations, 2013

Draft Telecommunication (Broadcasting And Cable) Services (Fourth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff (Second Amendment) Order, 2013

Written comments on these draft amendments are invited from the stakeholders by 18th June, 2013. The comments may be sent, preferably in electronic form to Mr. Wasi Ahmad, Advisor (B&CS), Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Mahanagar Doorsanchar Bhawan, Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg, New Delhi 110002, (Tel No. – 011-23237922, Fax No. – 011-23220442) on the e-mail address Comments received will be posted on the website of TRAI.

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