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TRAI introduces online information gathering mechanism to build LCO database

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is gathering information about local cable operators (LCOs) across India with the aim of keeping them abreast of the regulatory issues in the broadcasting sector.

The authority has come out with an online information gathering mechanism via a Google form to collect key information about LCOs like name, address, email, mobile number and city of operation.

The information submitted through this form will be stored in a database.

“We don’t have much information about the LCOs, which makes it difficult for us to reach out to them. Therefore, we have launched this online information gathering mechanism to get as much information as possible from LCOs in order to engage with them on important issues,” a TRAI official said.

While lauding the authority for the initiative, Maharashtra Cable Operators Federation (MCOF) president Arvind Prabhoo said that the authority should have put up the form on its website.

Malwa Cable Operators Sangh vice-president Rahul Rawat said that the authority should have taken this step before coming out with DAS regulations. He also said that the authority should also take feedback from LCOs on DAS regulations.

TRAI claimed that it has been taking up a number of activities to protect the interests of cable operators, address their grievances, and educate them about their rights and obligations.

In May, the authority had released a list of dos and don’ts for multi-system operators (MSOs) and LCOs operating in DAS areas.

Numbering more than 60,000, the LCOs are an important constituent in the cable TV ecosystem. The authority’s willingness to engage more with the LCOs stems from the fact that they are a crucial link between the MSOs and the customers.

Their reluctance to sign interconnect agreements with MSOs over the revenue share dispute has meant that the cable TV industry is yet to reap the fruits of digitisation. The perceived threat of being thrown out of business in DAS has triggered the formation of LCO associations in many cities and states.

Link of the TRAI form Click here