At present, the government has notified 26 television channels for must-carry by the DPOs.
PB submitted its comments on the consultation paper ‘Tariff related issues for Broadcasting and Cable Services’. It said that the regulations/tariff order should delink provisioning of DD channels with network capacity of the operator, technology adopted by the platform, tariff plan offered by the operator to its subscribers.
PB wrote: “In the context of the consultation issues, Prasar Bharati is of the view that, in the larger public interest, the channels notified by the Central Government shall be made available to subscribers over and above the network capacity subscribed by the subscriber without any additional monetary burden on the subscriber. This would be in line with the intent of the Cable TV Act.”
It added: “Further, since the STBs are not yet technically interoperable, Prasar Bharati is of the view that in case a subscriber does not renew its subscription, the notified channels should continue to be available to such subscribers in order to benefit the subscribers to avail public broadcasting services. This will ensure dissemination of any information of national importance to the subscribers, whether his connection is active or not at that time.”
To compensate DPOs, PB said that any repair or maintenance charges towards customer premises equipment shall be payable by the subscriber as per the rates prescribed by the operator. This will also help to contain e-waste.
According to Cable TV Act, the DPOs have to provide the notified channels to the subscribers, irrespective of any bouquets or a-la-carte channels being subscribed by customers.