Telecom service providers (TSPs) offering fixed and mobile telephony are currently being overwhelmed by online content, known as Over-the–top (OTT) application and services. The term Over-the-top (OTT) refers to application and services which are accessible over the internet and ride on operators’ networks offering internet access services e.g. social networks, search engines amateur video aggregation sites etc. OTT providers make use of the TSPs’ infrastructure to reach their customers and offer products/services that not only make money for them but also compete with the traditional service offered by TSPs. Leave aside TSPs, these apps compete with brick and mortar rivals e.g. e-commerce sites, banking etc. Today, users can directly access these applications online from any place, at any time, using a variety of internet connected consumer devices.
On 28 August 2014, the TRAI had issued a consultation on imposing fine on MSOs and LCOs for not providing cable TV services as per the specified Quality of Service (QoS) norms. This consultation was to amend the QoS Regulations to introduce financial disincentives on MSOs and LCOs for not adhering to the regulations. Subsequently, TRAI has notified the amendment on 25 March 2015. Major changes made in the standards are as Disincentives on non compliance of Billing related regulations will be paid only by the MSO.
The NDA government is all set to revive the Convergence Bill in a bid to give India's telecom, internet and television sectors a super regulator that may seek to replace TDSAT with a new appellate body called the Communications Appellate Tribunal and scrap the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has on 27 February issued a draft Tariff Order (TO) for consultation with stakeholders. This draft prescribes a framework for commercial interoperability of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) offered by the Direct-to-Home (DTH) operators to their subscribers.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued on 6 January 2015 its Recommendations on "Definition of Revenue Base (AGR) for the Reckoning of License Fee (LF) and Spectrum Usage Charges". These recommendations will also affect the DTH operators who pay a licence fee every year, based on the AGR. A new AGR base has also been defined by TRAI called Applicable Gross Revenue.
A Tariff Order for non-addressable areas in the country has been notified by the sector regulator, TRAI on 31 December 2014, to be applicable with effect from 01 January 2015. The new tariff for cable TV services are take into account inflationary increase and provide three slabs depending on the number of FTA and Pay channels provided in the cable TV networks. The rates given are the upper limits and range from Rs 117/- to Rs 292/- per month per subscriber. Subscriber here means a Set-Top-Box installed in the consumer house.
Holding that there had been "misuse and abuse" of public money on such advertisements, the three-member committee headed by eminent academician Professor N R Madhava Menon and K Viswanathan, former Secretary General of Lok Sabha and Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar as members, has framed guidelines to regulate expenditure and contents of such advertisements paid out of tax payers' money.
The media is popularly referred to as the “Fourth Estate” as it plays a crucial role in a democracy. It is the watchdog of public interest and its role as witness and commentator on the activities of the Government, various social and political institutions, and society at large, is vital. As the voice of the masses, representing their concerns, the media not only interprets and comments on the present but it also sets the agenda for the future. In India too, the media – press, radio, television and, now, the internet - has certainly played a significant role in the manner in which democracy has evolved over the years.
Although TRAI has been given the task of regulating the broadcast industry since 2004, it has not proved its mettle in doing so. Every regulation and tariff order issued by TRAI has been challenged in the courts and stayed. Industry is still in chaos and every stakeholder is taking the system for a r ide. The situation is back to the origin of the industry when it was like the ‘Wild West’ where powerful and moneyed people ruled. It is becoming clear that all policies of Digitisation have failed to be implemented. No government can force 600 million people to migrate to a new technology by showing a stick.
DAS has hardly succeeded in Phase 1 and 2 cities when TRAI is thinking of imposing fines for MSOs and LCOs for not complying with its regulations. It has issued a Consultation Paper on 28 August 2014 to amend the Standards of Quality of Service (digital addressable cable TV systems) Regulations.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a Consultation Paper on amendments to the Standards of Quality of Service (digital addressable cable TV systems) Regulation 2012 (12 of 2012) proposing to fine the MSOs and LCOs who violate these regulations that ensure better billing practices by MSOs and LCOs. This step has been taken after the Regulator received many complaints from the consumers.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on 23rd June floated a consultation paper seeking comments on regulating the platform services that include local video channels of MSOs and cable operators and value added service provided by the MSOs and direct-to-home service providers respectively.
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