20 Sep 2017
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DPOs need to register PS channels with MIB: TRAI

MUMBAI: Distribution platform operators (DPOs) need to register their platform services (PS) channels with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended.

While TRAI has recommended that no annual fees should be imposed on PS channels, it has suggested that a one-time registration fee of Rs 1,000 per PS channel should be charged. It has said that an online payment gateway for acceptance of the registration fees may be incorporated by the MIB in the recommended online registration system.

TRAI has said that the MIB should introduce a simple online registration mechanism for all DPOs to register their PS channels with the ministry, a move that will end their ambiguity status.

TRAI has also chalked out the basic set of information which a DPO may have to furnish. These include—(i) Name of the entity; (ii) Corporate Identification Number (CIN) allocated by the Registrar of Companies (RoC); (iii) Identity of its beneficial owners; (iv) Address/location/area of operation; (v) DPO category and in case of a cable TV operator, whether DAS or non-DAS; and (vi) Nature/genre of content proposed to be carried.

It said that the system shall automatically generate an acknowledgement of the registration of the PS channel and only after the registration can the DPO start providing the PS.

Regarding the period of licence, the regulator has recommended that the validity of registration of the PS channels should be coterminous with the operating licence/registration of the DPO. Extension of the registration/permission period of the DPO would simultaneously extend the validity of the registered PS channels.

Thus, there will be no renewal requirement for the registration of PS channels. However, before discontinuation or effecting any change in the details of a PS channel, the DPO will have to cancel or amend the registration obtained for that channel, TRAI recommended.

Meanwhile, it has said that the transferability of registration and interconnection with other networks for sharing of PS should not be allowed.

Besides, in order to provide PS, any person or entity will have to be incorporated as a company under the Indian Companies Act, 2013.

TRAI has suggested that a maximum time period of 12 months be granted for full compliance with the new regulatory framework.

Monitoring

While for PS distributed on a pan-India basis the MIB shall be the monitoring agency, other DPOs will have to retain a recording of all PS channel programmes for a period of 90 days along with a written log/register about such programmes for a period of one year from the date of broadcast.

The recording and the register can be examined by the authorised officer and the state/district monitoring committee appointed by the MIB, if required.

Again, considering that all DPOs, other than MSOs and LCOs operating in non-DAS areas, are already security cleared, the TRAI said that if at any time before the MIB obtains the security clearance it is determined that the programming service offered on PS and which has been registered on the online system is inimical to India’s national security or to the public interest, the MIB may require the DPO to withdraw the distribution of the PS channel or the programming service and/or cancel the registration.

Penalty

TRAI suggested that first violation of the PS guidelines shall lead to prohibition on transmission of the PS channel for a period of up to 30 days, while for a second instance of such violation, the prohibition on transmission shall be for a period of up to 90 days.

However, for the third violation, the registration of the PS shall be revoked and the channel concerned shall not be transmitted. Also, the number of PS channels that the DPO can transmit thereafter will be appropriately reduced.

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