TRAI, in March 2017, notified the 'New Regulatory Framework' for Broadcasting and Cable services. The new framework came into effect on 29th December 2018.
TRAI's new regulations/orders for the television and broadcasting sector gave freedom to consumers to select television channels they want to watch. To ensure proper implementation of the new framework, TRAI has made number of efforts such as series of meetings with DPOs, publicity in electronic and news media, interactions with customer groups etc. Despite of making all efforts, time and again, it is being brought to notice of the Authority that consumers are not able to make real choice of TV channels.
TRAI is in receipt of several complaints from the consumers that they are not able to choose the TV channels conveniently on the web portal/ apps of the DPOs. All the complaints received in TRAI were not only analysed in TRAI but also forwarded to DPOs to take necessary action and facilitate consumer choice. TRAI as special initiative conducted field inspection for some DPOs to access the process of selection of channels made available to consumers. It was noticed that quite a few DPOs platform were not providing adequate freedom and choice to consumers. Customers also complained that the call centre of DPOs is also not helping to facilitate consumer choice of the channels.
In order to address above issue, The Authority, in the larger public interest, felt need to have Channel Selection System developed by third party to facilitate easy channel selection by consumers. Since, third party APP will be accessible by every customer of Broadcasting & Cables Services sector, therefore, it will facilitate the easy choice to consumers. To facilitate functioning of third-party Apps, TRAI created Channel Selection System API Specifications document which prescribed common APIs with all Distribution Platform Operators (DPO). TRAI intend to mandate all the DPOs to compulsorily share information with the apps after authenticating the subscriber so that such apps can help in easy selection of the required TV channels.
Through this draft regulation (second amendment), TRAI is seeking the comments of the stakeholders on the issue of developing of APP by third parties and consequent sharing of information using API between DPOs and consumers to have ease in selection of channels of their choice and reduce TV viewing charges by optimizing their subscription while allowing them to view channels of their interest.
The draft regulation (second amendment) issued today shall be open for comments of the stakeholders up to the 22nd August 2019. The draft regulation has also been placed on TRAl's website.