TRAI issues consultation paper on digital cable

23 Dec,2011

By A Correspondent


The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Thursday released a consultation paper on “Issues related to Implementation of Digital Addressable Cable TV Systems”.


The analog cable TV service, which caters to around 94 million households, has been a roadblock in exploiting the full potential of the sector. Keeping this in mind and in consultation with all the stakeholders, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had recommended to the government complete digitization with addressability of the Cable TV services, in a phased manner in August, 2010.


After the Parliament passed the Bill to amend the Cable TV Act paving the way for the digitization programme, in order facilitate transformation to digital cable system, TRAI identified certain key issues that need to be determined. These issues pertain to:

  • Composition and Tariff of Basic Service Tier (BST)
  • Retail Tariff
  • Prepaid billing
  • Interconnection issues
  • Revenue share between MSOs and LCOs
  • Quality of Service Standards
  • Redressal of Consumer Complaints



Some of the key issues raised by TRAI in the consultation paper concern:

  • The minimum number of free-to-air (FTA) channels that a cable operator should offer in the basic-service-tier (BST). TRAI has also demanded for the genre-wise (entertainment, information, education etc) mix of channels in a BST?
  • If the retail tariff is to be determined by TRAI or left to the market forces? If it is to be determined by TRAI, how should it be determined?
  • The subscription revenue share between the MSO and LCO and if it is to be prescribed by TRAI what should be the revenue share.
  • Whether an ad-free channel is viable in the context of Indian television market?
  • The responsibility for ensuring the standards of quality of service provided to the consumers with respect to connection, disconnection, transfer, shifting, handling of complaints relating to no signal, set top box, billing etc. and redressal of consumer grievances.
  • The impact on the wholesale channel rates after the sunset date i.e 31st Dec 2014, when the non-addressable systems would cease to exist.



The full text of the Consultation Paper is available on TRAI’s website ( TRAI has invited written comments on the issues raised in this consultation paper from the stakeholders by 16th January, 2012, and counter-comments on the comments by 23rd January, 2012.


The comments and counter-comments may be sent to Mr Wasi Ahmad, Advisor (B&CS) at: or

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