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Interoperable Set Top Boxes: TRAI

  • 14 Apr 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended that all Set Top Boxes (STBs) in the country must be made interoperable.

  • It means that consumers should be able to use the same STB across different DTH (direct-to-home) or cable TV providers.

Key Points

  • STBs deployed in the cable TV networks are non-interoperable. STBs in the DTH players comply with licence conditions to support common interface module based interoperability. So, in practice, they are also not readily interoperable.
  • Issues due to the lack of interoperability:
    • It deprives the customer of the freedom to change her/his service provider.
    • Creates a hindrance to technological innovation and improvement in service quality.
    • Hampers the overall sector growth.
  • Universal STB has technical and commercial constraints so the interoperability should be platform-specific.
    • Interoperable STBs within the cable TV segment and similarly within the DTH segment should be developed.
  • The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has been suggested to make the required amendments in licensing and registration conditions to make interoperability mandatory.
    • It has also been recommended to set up a coordination committee to steer implementation of revised STB standards for both the DTH and the cable TV segments.
    • The committee may maintain continuous oversight for setting up of the digital TV standards by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India

  • It was established by an Act of Parliament (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997) to regulate telecom services, including fixation/revision of tariffs for telecom services.
  • It provides a fair and transparent policy environment which promotes a level playing field and facilitates fair competition.
  • The TRAI Act was amended to establish a Telecommunications Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to take over the adjudicatory and disputes functions from TRAI.
    • TDSAT was set up to adjudicate any dispute between a licensor and a licensee, between two or more service providers, between a service provider and a group of consumers, and to hear and dispose of appeals against any direction, decision or order of TRAI.

Source: TH

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