The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is responsible for making a lot of changes in the DTH and the telecom industry. The regulator has been the hand behind many changes which have changed the scenario of the telecom and the DTH industry in India. One of the major changes in the industry happens to be in the form of Trai tariff regime as well. However, there are other avenues which the telecom regulator is exploring so that the DTH subscribers can enjoy better services, more transparency and pricing that is conducive for the market growth, while also being right for the subscribers. One of these developments happen to be in the case of Set-Top Boxes. More specifically, Trai is currently working on the technology of Set-Top Box Interoperability. The sector regulator had floated a consultation paper on the same approximately one month ago on November 11, and it was open for receiving comments from the industry stakeholders. But, now as per a new Trai update, the date for the invitation of comments on STB interoperability consultation paper has been extended by a few days.
Consultation Paper Comments Get Delayed
The deadline for receiving comments on the above-mentioned consultation paper was to be over by December 9. But, as per the new information by Trai on this matter, the consultation paper will now receive comments till December 18, meaning that the deadline for receiving comments has now been extended by ten more days. However, it is worth noting that Trai has been a little stringent regarding deadlines in the case of receiving comments and counter comments on this consultation paper. The regulatory has said that there would be no extension on dates for receiving the comments or the counter comments.
On that note, similar to the comments on the Set-Top Box Interoperability consultation paper, Trai had also invited counter comments on the issue, the deadline for which was set to be December 23, 2019. But, with this new extension, the counter comments deadline has now been pushed to December 30, 2019. Just like other Trai consultation papers, this one was issued by the authority of elicit response from the stakeholders of the industry about the various technological implementations that can be done to achieve Set-Top Box interoperability.
Set-Top Box Interoperability Explained
For the unaware, Set-Top Box interoperability refers to the technology, whereby the Set-Top Boxes will be able to work in tandem with various DTH operators and cable TV services, unlike the Set-Top Boxes which are available in the market right now and remain exclusive for every DTH operator. This means that currently, if the subscribers have to change their DTH operator, then they would have to buy a new Set-Top Box as well. This creates a bottleneck when subscribers want to switch their DTH operator or cable TV operator.
However, as per Trai, a solution which is based on the smart card has been tested successfully in the labs for Set-Top Box Interoperability. Currently, the Set-Top Boxes have been tested with CAS, but testing with third-party CAS remains to be done as per Trai. To develop these solutions, Trai had called out for comments from the industry stakeholders and expert, as part of which it had rolled out the consultation paper on the matter of Set-Top Box interoperability. The deadline for the same consultation paper has been extended now.