Telecom Regulatory Authority of India yesterday released regulations for Digital Cable & Broadcasting services – and it should put smile of Television viewers. It also addresses many disputes between Cable Operators & Channel Broadcasters.
The regulations called “Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection (Digital Addressable Cable Television Systems) Regulations, 2012” brings about consumer favoring rules like offering minimum of 100 Free to Air (FTA) channels and ceiling on the minimum pricing for cable services.
Key Regulations for Digital Addressable Cable TV Systems
– All channels (pay and free-to air) to be offered on a-la-carte basis to subscribers
– Every provider should offer a Basic Service Tier (BST) to all TV consumers. A BST should have minimum of 100 free-to air (FTA) channels having at least 5 channels of each genre in Hindi, English and regional language of the concerned region.
– BST will also have 18 channels of Public Broadcaster and Lok Sabha channels
– A consumer does not have obligation to subscribe to the BST and can form his own package of a maximum of 100 FTA channels. The cable Operator cannot charge more than Rs. 100 for this service. Essentially a subscriber will receive minimum of 100 FTA channels for Rs. 100
– A Multi System Operator (one who provides signals to local Cable Operator ) has to have bouquet of minimum 500 Channels from January 2013.
TRAI has also come up with ceilings on how much maximum charges a particular channel can have – the sum of the a-la-carte rates of channels, forming part of a bouquet, shall not exceed 1.5 times the rate of the bouquet. Further, the a-la-carte rate of any channel shall not exceed 3 times the average channel rate of the bouquet.
Along with Digital Addressable Cable Television regulations, TRAI has also set down guidelines for Broadcasting and cable services to reduce the disputes between Multi system Operator & Channel Broadcaster.
Key regulations for Broadcasting and Cable Services
- TRAI has banned exclusivity between Multi system Operator (one who provides signals to local Cable Operator ) & Broadcaster. Meaning that a particular channel cannot have rights to be be exclusively shown on only one single operator. The rules define that all Multi system Operator should have rights to any channel. The same is true vice-a-versa
- A Multi system operator cannot demand for carriage fees to beam a particular channel
- And Broadcaster cannot ask for a fixed slot as a pre-condition for providing signals. Many popular channels demand Multi system Operators to show in first 20 channels as it conjures up high viewing.
- Every Multisystem Operator will have a publish standard interconnect offer on its website and specify the technical and commercial terms and conditions for providing access to its network by the
broadcaster and submit a copy to the TRAI.
- Every broadcaster has to offer all its channels to the multi system operator on a-la-carte basis.
- A multi system operator cannot make signals available of TV channels to any linked local cable operator without entering into a written interconnection agreement.
Overall, TRAI has ensures that with these regulations TV viewer’s interest are taken care of and there is a level playing field for all Channel broadcasters as well as MSO’s and Cable Operators.
Here are is the full PDF for TRAI regulations for Digital Cable services.