Bharti Airtel Raises Concern Over Violation of Downlinking Policy by Broadcasters: Report

Bharti Airtel has approached the TRAI alleging that broadcasters are violating downlinking policies by providing content to unregistered digital distribution platforms, creating an anti-competitive environment. This is believed to be in response to Reliance Industries subsidiary Jio TV streaming IPL 2023 matches.

Highlights

  • Bharti Airtel has accused broadcasters of violating downlinking policies by providing content to unregistered digital distribution platforms.
  • This move is believed to be in response to Reliance Industries subsidiary Jio TV streaming IPL 2023 matches.
  • Bharti Airtel has called for regulatory oversight to ensure a level playing field in the sector's overall growth.

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Bharti Airtel Raises Concern Over Violation of Downlinking Policy by Broadcasters: Report

Bharti Airtel has reportedly approached the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) over alleged violations of downlinking policies by broadcasters who provide content to unregistered digital distribution platforms. The move is widely believed to be a response to Reliance Industries subsidiary Jio TV streaming the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 matches.




Also Read: Bharti Airtel 499 Platinum Plan Detailed for Mobility and Entertainment Needs

Created an anti-competitive environment

Bharti Airtel has said that delivering the same broadcast through an app on large screens has created an anti-competitive environment and given an unfair advantage to unregulated distribution platforms (DPOs), according to a PTI Report.

"As per MIB's downlinking policy, the broadcaster is under an obligation to provide services only through registered DPOs (such as DTH providers). By providing broadcast content to unregistered digital distribution platforms, the broadcasters are violating the downlinking policy, which needs to be addressed by MIB (Ministry of Information and Broadcasting) and TRAI," Airtel was quoted in the Report.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) introduced the principle to ensure broadcasters provide content to all distribution platforms on a non-discriminatory basis. However, it becomes inapplicable in cases where the same broadcast content (as shown on registered distribution platforms) is being carried over broadband as a medium," According to Bharti Airtel.

Content being priced differently across platforms raises concern

Bharti Airtel has also raised concerns that content is being priced differently across distribution platforms such as DTH and wireline or wireless broadband. Star Sports has rights as the official broadcaster of IPL 2023 matches, while Viacom18, which is owned by Reliance Industries, has digital streaming rights. In addition, JioCinema is streaming IPL matches for free on its platform, a move that has come under scrutiny from its rivals.

Also Read: Airtel asks TRAI to Regulate Content Aired through Broadband: Report

Regulatory oversight needed to create level playing field

Bharti Airtel has called for regulatory oversight of situations where content acquired may only be provided to its own customers on wired or wireless broadband, excluding the rest of the subscriber base from accessing such content. It has argued that showing the same content at arbitrary pricing norms on a digital platform defeats TRAI tariff regulations and creates a non-level playing field for the sector's overall growth.

Reported By

Aparna, from a journalism background, closely follows the developments in the telecom Industry.

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