Trai Issues Recommendations to DTH Operators on KYC of Set-Top Boxes

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has been making many changes in the DTH and the broadcasting industry ever since the introduction of the new Trai tariff regime. Since the regulatory changes which happened in the start of the year, the regulator has introduced many consultation papers to seek the views of stakeholders of the industry on various topics and probable regulations which it could introduce in the near future. However, among these consultation papers was also a paper on KYC for Set-Top Box. To recall, Trai has received a reference from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) back in December 2018, asking for recommendations of Trai on the desirability or otherwise of Know Your Customer (KYC)for Set-Top Boxes, in DTH Services and if desirable, then the process for the same. Now Trai has finally come up with these recommendations.

Recommendations by Trai on KYC of Set-Top Boxes

The telecom regulator had floated the consultation paper on the topic, “KYC of DTH Set Top Boxes” in July 2019. The regulator also invited comments from the industry stakeholders and the experts by August 19, 2019, and September 2, 2019. After the invitation of comments from these stakeholders, an open house discussion was also held by Trai on September 26, 2019, in Delhi to seek further views of the stakeholders on various topics. Now, based on these comments, counter comments and the open house discussion, Trai has made recommendations to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) on the topic of KYC of Set-Top Box, and they are as follows.

Set-Top Boxes to be Verified by Document or Registered Mobile Number

As part of the first recommendation from Trai regarding the KYC of Set-Top Box, the regulator has said that the DTH operator should install the DTH equipment at the address mentioned in the Customer Application Form (CAP) only and all the details about the installation of the DTH equipment, including the address, should be maintained by the operator. Also, a representative of the DTH operator should also visit the address provided in the application form to verify it. The regulator has also added that in order to verify the customer identity, the DTH operator should ensure the identity of the customer by sending a one-time-password (OTP) to his registered mobile number.

Existing Set-Top Boxes Also to be Linked

In case the subscriber has not provided a mobile number, or the corporate body, then the DTH operator should collect some kind of proof of identity or any other similar document which can establish the identity of the subscriber either in physical or electronic form. As per the recommendation of Trai, the DTH operator should do this before the installation of the equipment.

With this being said, Trai has also recommended that the DTH operators should not mandate verification at regular intervals. Trai said that doing so would incur huge costs to the DTH operators. However, Trai also added that the Set-Top Boxes which have not been linked to any registered number should be liked to any registered number within the period of two years. In case, a mobile number is not possible to be linked to a particular Set-Top Box, then the DTH operator should collect a proof of identity by the respective subscriber of DTH services. Lastly, Trai also said that there is also no need to enable location-based services for the subscribers on the DTH Set-Top Boxes.

Arpit Sharma

Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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Arpit Sharma