The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has been in an ideation mode ever since the new tariff regime went into effect. After the implementation of the new regulatory framework, the Authority has been floating new consultation paper and recommendations for fine-tuning these rules. Now, in a new move, Trai has floated yet another consultation paper, and it has to do with Platform Services offered by DTH Operators. In its release, Trai has noted that DTH operators in the country have the most amount of subscribers as compared to the other service types like Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), Head-end In the Sky (HITS). Also, all DTH companies have specific services which are unique to their platforms, and these are called platform services. The new consultation paper concerns them only.
Trai Issues Consultation Paper on Reference from the MIB
Trai has also noted that DPOs use platform services to offer innovative services and product differentiation. It also acts as a unique selling proposition (USP) for DPOs and also helps them in meeting the specific needs of their subscribers. Also, it was on July 2, 2019, when Trai received a reference from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), and it was then that Trai was asked to give its recommendations on the matter related to platform services being provided by the DTH operators.
The points that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting highlighted included, DTH operator offering Platform Service Channels have to ensure that the same content is not shared with any other DPO, the one-time registration fee to be enhanced to Rs 1 Lakh per PS channel as against Rs 1000 per PS channel recommended earlier by the Authority, the maximum number of PS channels that a DTH operator can offer and Platform Service could be sequenced separately from the regular channels. Trai has also noted that the written comments on the consultation on platform services are invited till September 27, 2019. Also, the counter comments on the consultation paper can be submitted by October 11, 2019.
Trai Consultation Paper on Issues of New Regulatory Framework
It is also worth noting that a few days back, Trai had floated another consultation paper on the topic of issues that are currently plaguing the new tariff regime. The consultation paper invites stakeholder comments on these issues and the possible solutions that can be implemented to fix these issues. Trai has majorly identified three areas which seem to be a cause for concern in the new regulatory regime. Firstly, Trai has highlighted the rampant discounting on channel bouquets, which it suggested to control either by bringing a limit on the discount percentage or by limiting the price of individual channels. There is also the issue of channel bundling itself. Trai chairman, RS Sharma has also remarked that this consultation paper seeks to fine-tune the new tariff regime and not change it.