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LCOs disrupt TRAI OHD on platform services in Delhi

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had to quickly wind up its open-house discussion (OHD) on platform services in New Delhi following disruption by local cable operators (LCOs) who were demanding the TRAI top brass also discuss their grievances related to digital addressable system (DAS) roll-out.

TRAI Delhi OHD 4The OHD, attended by TRAI chairman Rahul Khullar, member RK Arnold, principal advisor N Parameswaran and others, hardly lasted for 45 minutes as an argument ensued between the LCOs and the TRAI top brass.

The LCOs were demanding immediate resolution of the outstanding issues related to DAS implementation rather than discussing platform services (PS). TRAI chairman Rahul Khullar, however, insisted that the items listed on the agenda must be completed first before proceeding to other matters.

With the LCOs refusing to heed, Khullar and co. were left with no option but to leave the meeting in a huff amid sloganeering. As if that was not enough, the LCOs went outside the BSNL office and raised slogans against the regulator.

This was the concluding leg of the OHDs on ‘Regulatory framework for Platform Services’. The authority had earlier smoothly conducted OHDs in Bengaluru, Kolkata and Mumbai.

TRAI Delhi OHD 1The TRAI had released a consultation paper on ‘Regulatory Framework for Platform Services’ on 23 June following a reference from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB).

The key issues discussed in the consultation paper include definition of PS; types of programmes that can be carried on PS channels; eligibility criteria for registration of PS; security clearance of PS channels; registration of PS channels; penal provisions for non-adherence to terms and conditions of registration; and other obligations to be imposed.

All TV channel distribution platform operators (DPOs) operate certain kinds of programming services which are not obtained from broadcasters and are specific to their platform.

Such platform-specific services being offered by DPOs are referred to as platform services. They include movies- and music-related programmes, local community-based programmes, local news and current affairs, interactive games, shopping channels, as well as education channels.

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LMOs urge TRAI not to put restriction on local cable channels