Digitization Phase 2: TRAI releases draft tariff orders

15 Apr,2013

By A Correspondent

 

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released draft tariff orders prescribing a standard tariff package (STP) for Set Top Boxes (STBs) for Digital Addressable Cable TV Systems (DAS) and Consumer Premises Equipments (CPEs) for Direct to Home (DTH) services, seeking comments of the stakeholders.

 

In Digital Addressable Systems, customers need a STB/ CPE to be connected with the TV set for reception of TV programmes as signal transmission is in digital and encrypted form. Since different technologies co-exist, within as well as across different platforms of Digital Addressable Systems, the STBs/CPEs deployed by one operator may not be fully compatible with the network of another operator, hampering effective migration of the customer from one service provider to another.

 

To protect the interests of the consumers the TRAI has decided to prescribe Standard Tariff Packages for STB/CPE on rental basis, which are to be mandatorily offered by the service providers, ie DTH and cable operators. Written comments on the draft tariff orders are invited from the stakeholders by April 26.

 

In another notification, Ministry of I&B has said that 15 of the 38 cities have achieved nearly 100 percent digitization and 85 percent of the digitization target achieved during Phase II of DAS has been implemented.

 

In three states, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, stay orders have been given by High Courts on the switch-off of the analogue signals, till further orders. The process of digitization, however, in other cities is in full swing. MSOs have reported that there is huge demand for STBs which is being met by increased supply of STBs by air lifting of STBs.

 

Nodal Officers have reported to the Ministry that in 5 states, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Haryana and Union Territory of Chandigarh, analogue signals have been completely switched off.

 

In the last one month alone about 40 lakh STBs have been installed in Phase II cities.

 

Separately, TRAI has been convening meetings of broadcasters, MSO and cable operators to sort out issues pertaining to agreements and service conditions.

 

The objective of the entire exercise is to implement the process in a seamless, sustained yet sensitive manner that causes the least amount of disruption to the consumer. Further, the Ministry has advised MSOs to exercise utmost caution so that least amount of inconvenience is caused to subscribers/consumers. Wherever necessary the process has been implemented in a circumspect way so as to ensure that consumers can get access to STBs, said a release from the TRAI.

 

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