Trai Announces New Recommendations for Regulation of Platform Services

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has recently announced that all the platform services provided by Direct-to-Home (DTH) operators, Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), or Multiple System Operators (MSOs) shall be exclusive to their platforms and should not be shared with any other distribution platform operator (DPO) directly or indirectly. If the platform service is shared with a DPO, Trai or the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) reserve the right to stop it right away. Further, MIB also reserves the right for cancelling the registration of such a platform service of the MSOs, IPTV, or DTH operators — more details on the story ahead.

Platform Services Should be Exclusive, Not to be Shared With DPOs

According to a PTI report, Trai has agreed with the ministry's views on keeping the platform services of several platforms exclusive to them. The regulatory body floated its recommendation on the platform services on February 2, 2021.

Trai also said that the platform services could be shared with the DPOs if the MIB can first verify that the operator and the DPO have met all the specified compliances. The regulatory has also suggested that any person/entity providing local news as a platform will have to be incorporated as a company under the Indian Companies Act, 2013.

Further, the operators need to provide options for activating/deactivating the platform services whenever required. The operators also need to put the platform service channels under the genre ‘Platform Services’ in the electronic programmable guide (EPG).

With this, the platform services' maximum retail price should be mentioned clearly in the EPG so that the consumer doesn’t miss out on it. Adding to this, a caption ‘Platform Services’ will also need to be displayed so that the end-user can distinguish between normal channels and platform services. The government will take the last call on what the size of the caption should be.

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