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TRAI sets rules of behaviour for MSOs and LCOs operating in DAS

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a list of dos and don’ts for multi-system operators (MSOs) and local cable operators (LCOs) operating in digital addressable system (DAS) areas.

The list spells out the process an MSO or an LCO needs to do. This includes registration to signing interconnect agreements to providing signals to linked operators in the case of MSOs. LCOs need to provide service to end customers.

The authority has issued three lists—one for MSOs, one for LCOs, and one outlining roles and responsibilities of MSOs/LCOs in relation to customers/subscribers of DAS.

Dos and don’ts for MSOs:

Dos

1) Register with the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) as an MSO.

2) Enter into written interconnect agreement with each LCO if you are providing cable TV services through one or more LCOs.

3) Ensure that a copy of the written interconnect agreement is handed over to the LCO(s) within 15 days from the date of signing of the agreement, and the receipt is duly acknowledged.

4) Ensure that the terms and conditions of the written interconnect agreement conform to the TRAI regulations.

5) Ensure that the interconnect agreement explicitly mentions the date of coming into force and the date of expiry. The agreement will remain valid till the date of expiry of the agreement or the date of expiry of the registration of MSO/ LCO, whichever is earlier.

6) Ensure that the interconnect agreement explicitly lists the responsibilities of the MSO as well as of the LCO.

7) Ensure that the interconnect agreement explicitly mentions the revenue share agreed. The agreement should also clearly mention the revenue settlement procedure between parties, apart from specific provisions for delay in payment.

8) Ensure that the interconnect agreement clearly mentions the procedure for uploading the consumer complaints, received by the linked LCOs, in the complaint handling/monitoring system.

9) Ensure that the interconnect agreement contains explicit provision(s) for settlement of disputes.

10) Provide access to the relevant data in the subscriber management system (SMS) to all the linked LCOs for the settlement of revenue share in accordance with the agreement.

11) Educate your linked LCOs about the various schemes you are offering for procuring a set-top box (STB) by a subscriber and also the channel(s)/bouquet(s) available on your network.

12) Provide adequate number of spare STBs to all of your linked LCOs to meet the timelines set in the Quality of Service Regulations of TRAI, to avoid long disruptions in service to any subscriber due to a faulty STB.

13) Ensure that a prior notice of 15 days is provided through local newspapers and through scrolls on TV screens to inform subscribers who are likely to be affected due to the disconnection. Such notice should be published in two leading newspapers of the state. One of these newspapers should be in the local language.

14) Ensure that a sufficient number of customer application forms (CAFs) and manuals of practice is available with your linked LCOs for distribution to the customers at the time of providing connection.

Don’ts

1) Provide cable TV services without a valid MSO registration, which is illegal.

2) Provide cable TV signals to LCOs without a written interconnection agreement.

3) Give pre-activated STB to any LCO or to any customer.

4) Disconnect the signals of TV channels of your linked LCO(s) without giving 21 days’ notice to such LCO(s) and clearly specifying the reasons for disconnection.

Dos and don’ts for LCOs:

Dos

1) Register with the head post office of your area of operation before offering cable TV services.

2) Renew your registration with the head post office every year.

3) Enter into a written interconnect agreement with the multi-system operator (MSO) whose signal you will carry.

4) Keep a copy of the written interconnect agreement with you. Ensure that you have a copy within 15 days from date of signing of agreement.

5) Give the completed CAF to the MSO for entry of the details into the SMS and retain one copy of the CAF with yourself.

6) Provide complete details of payment made by each subscriber to your MSO within the agreed period.

7) Give the completed surrender application form to the MSO for entry of the details into the SMS.

Don’ts

1) Transmit cable TV service without valid registration, which is illegal.

2) Transmit cable TV signals to subscribers without proper written interconnect agreement with the MSO.

3) Discontinue the transmission of cable signal without giving 21 days’ notice to the MSO, clearly specifying the reasons for the proposed discontinuation.

4) Change the MSO of the subscriber till the subscriber request so by filling a surrender application form for the existing MSO’s connection and a new CAF for the new MSO’s connection. The new STB should be activated only after entry of the details, as provided in new CAF, into the SMS of the new MSO.

Dos & don’ts for MSOs & LCOs in respect of subscribers of DAS

Dos

1) Ensure that your representative carries a proper ID card when visiting a customer’s premises.

2) Ensure that the CAF is given to the customer seeking cable TV connection through DAS.

3) Hand over a copy of the completed CAF to the subscriber.

4) Ensure that the manual of practice is given to the customer at the time of providing connection.

5) Provide a surrender application form on request of the subscriber for surrender of the connection.

6) Explain the terms and conditions for providing an STB to the customer with details of various retail tariff options.

7) Ensure that the terms and conditions of your schemes are explained to the customer in detail at the time of providing connection.

8) Ensure that the retail tariff applicable for subscription of channels/bouquets are explained to the customer in detail at the time of providing connection

9) Issue a bill and payment receipt to every subscriber for every payment made by them. It should include the receipt for payment made towards STBs as well as TV channels.

10) Send acknowledgement of receipt of payment electronically to the subscriber. It may be noted that the electronic acknowledgement of receipt of payment cannot be considered as delivery of receipt, which has to be provided separately.

11) Ensure that the subscription amount paid by an individual subscriber is entered into the SMS before the start of the next billing cycle so that the subscriber is fully informed about the current status of his account.

12) Reduce the subscription charges if any channel becomes unavailable on the network of the MSO. Alternately, the MSO may offer another channel of the same genre and language to the subscriber; if the offer is accepted, then the subscription charges need not be reduced.

13) Publish and prominently display the toll-free consumer care number and contact number of your nodal officer for redressal of consumer grievances and accepting service requests from subscribers.

14) Set up a web-based complaint handling/monitoring system. Subscribers must be able to monitor processing/resolution of their complaints on the website you have set-up.

15) Conduct periodic consumer awareness programmes about Quality of Service (QoS) Regulation provisions for subscribers.

Don’ts

1) Activate the STB before entering the details of customer and his choice of channels into the SMS.

2) Discontinue any channel to a subscriber, if the subscriber has already paid subscription amount for that channel in advance and that channel is available on your platform.


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