The broadcasters provided the Television channels to different DPOs (MSOs, DTH, HITS or IPTV operators) on the basis of mutual negotiations. The size of MSOs in the market mattered most, large operators were able to get better deals from the broadcasters, while small and medium MSOs were facing severe stress due to discriminatory pricing and discounting practices.
There were many other market asymmetries that prompted TRAI to carry-out a comprehensive regulatory overhaul and notify the new regulatory framework for Broadcasting and Cable services in March 2017. The framework comprises of Interconnection Regulations 2017, Quality of Service & Consumer Protection Regulations 2017 and Tariff Order 2017. The framework was duly notified vide press release nO.71/2018 dated 3rd July 2018. All the timelines prescribed in the above-mentioned framework commenced from 3 rd July 2018 and the new regulatory framework has come into effect on 29th December 2018.
The new regulatory framework is based on transparency, non-discrimination, protection of consumer interest and enabling orderly growth of the sector as its core principles. The 'New Framework' promotes the consumer interest. Making the choices available to consumer and consumer paying only for what she/ he chooses to watch is the fulcrum of the new framework. This will encourage market forces to play and improve the quality of TV channels with better consumer viewing experience.
The purpose of this White paper is to identify the issues faced earlier by the small and medium MSOs and the benefits that accrue to them with the introduction of the 'New Framework’.