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TRAI meets cable TV CEOs on DAS billing

MUMBAI: There has been some progress on the billing front in Phases I and II of digital addressable system (DAS), the multi-system operators (MSOs) told the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

The broadcast sector regulator asked the MSOs about progress made on online billing and whether customers are being offered pre-paid and post-paid options.

“The MSOs claim they are implementing billing and have made some progress on that front. But we want to find out the ground reality,” a TRAI official said.

The authority has been pressing for gross billing for almost two years. However, the standoff between MSOs and last mile operators (LMOs) over revenue share has meant very little progress on the ground.

“Billing has not happened, interconnection agreements have not been signed and revenue-share arrangements are still not in place. So we had taken up those issues during the meeting,” added the official.

TRAI had recently met CEOs of leading MSOs to take stock of the progress made on billing in Phases I and II of DAS. The regulator holds such meetings every now and then to stay abreast of the developments.

The official also suggested that MSOs have to convince LMOs and kick-start billing. “The MSOs have to take up the ground challenge. They cannot remain a backend support provider. They have to ensure delivery to the last-mile customer,” the official suggested.

According to the official, the 55:45 and 65:35 revenue share for free-to-air and pay channels is a fallback option. It means that LMOs are guaranteed 35-45  per cent revenue. It is up to the MSOs and LMOs to settle on a workable revenue-share arrangement, he added.

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