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Trai issues norms for non-discriminatory access to content
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MUMBAI: Digital cable TV, direct-to-home (DTH) and IPTV operators can't demand carriage fee and still get that channel under the "must provide" clause, a Trai guideline on Interconnect Regulation said.

Addressable delivery platform providers can, however, charge a fee for placement of the channel on their networks.

For facilitating introduction and roll out of voluntary Cas (conditional access system), Trai has made it mandatory for all broadcasters to have reference interconnect offers (RIO) for all addressable systems.
The sector regulator has also made it compulsory for all interconnect agreements to be reduced to writing while prescribing the terms and conditions, which should compulsorily form part of a RIO for DTH or any other addressable system (Voluntary CAS, IPTV, HITS).

Trai has also allowed distributors employing addressable systems to provide their services to commercial subscribers.

Trai's aim behind these regulations is to facilitate access to content on non-discriminatory terms.

"It is expected that these amendments to the existing Interconnection Regulations will go a long way in facilitating access to content on non-discriminatory terms for distributors of TV channels deploying addressable platforms, which will in turn lead to greater competition between the various pay TV delivery platforms, bringing considerable benefit to the consumers," the sector regulator said.

Trai had first issued the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection Regulation in 2004 to cover arrangements among service providers for interconnection and revenue sharing for all broadcasting and cable services.

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