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HomeArticlesTRAI’s Recommendations on “Sharing of Infrastructure”
Wednesday, 05 April 2017 13:58

TRAI’s Recommendations on “Sharing of Infrastructure”

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On March 29, country’s telecom regulator TRAI released its recommendations on “Sharing of Infrastructure in Television Broadcasting Distribution Sector”. TRAI’s recommendations came after a reference letter was sent to it by the Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) in April 2016 directing TRAI to examine the issue related to the sharing of infrastructure. “The sharing of the infrastructure in TV broadcasting distribution sector would not only help in enhancing available distribution network capacities but would also result in reduced Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) and Operative Expenditure (OPEX) for the service providers thereby bringing down the price of broadcasting services to subscribers,” it noted.  

The main features of these recommendations are:

The central government should encourage sharing of infrastructure wherever technically feasible in TV broadcasting distribution network services on voluntary basis.

 Permit multi-system operators or MSOs to share “head-end used for TV services and transport streams transmitting signals of TV channels” voluntarily.

Appropriate amendments in the MSO registration conditions would have to be made to give effect to the same. “The HITS (Head-end-in-the-sky) operator and MSOs should be allowed to share the HITS platform, on voluntary basis, in flexible ways, for distribution of TV channels.” 

The HITS operator and MSOs should be allowed to share the HITS platform on voluntary basis in flexible ways for the distribution of TV channels. The sharing of transport streams transmitted by HITS platform, between HITS operators and MSOs, should be permitted.

To ensure efficient use of scarce satellite resources, the DTH operators, willing to share DTH platform and transport stream of TV channels on voluntary basis should be allowed to do so with prior written intimation to MIB and TRAI.

The distributors of TV channels should be permitted to share the common hardware for their Subscriber Management System applications and Conditional Access Systems applications.

While sharing the infrastructure with another distributor of TV channels, the responsibility of compliance to the relevant Acts/rules/regulations/licence/orders/ directions/guidelines would continue to be of each distributor of TV channels independently. 

The objective of these recommendations is to ease up policy environment for facilitating sharing of infrastructure in TV broadcasting distribution sector on voluntary basis. The sharing of the infrastructure in TV broadcasting distribution sector would not only help in enhancing available distribution network capacities but also would result in reduced capital expenditure and operative expenditure for the service providers thereby bringing down the price of broadcasting services to subscribers. In Addition, it would lower the entry barriers for new service providers and provide more space on broadcasting distribution networks for niche channels – necessary for satisfying the diverse needs of general public – to reach targeted customers. Lowering of entry barriers in the distribution space could propel competition in the market and more choices to consumers due to presence of multiple operators in single territory.

The TV broadcasting sector has witnessed tremendous growth in the last decade. There has been an exponential increase in the number of satellite TV channels. In India, the satellite channels are predominantly distributed using cable TV, DTH, and HITS networks to subscribers. At present there are seven DTH operators, more than 1200 MSOs and two HITS operators in the country.

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