21 Sep 2017
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TRAI to launch a pilot project on STB interoperability on 26 Sept

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is holding a workshop on the solution architecture for technical interoperability of set-top boxes (STB) on 26 September in New Delhi.

TRAI said it aims to launch a pilot project at the workshop with a view to developing a prototype of interoperable STBs and compatible smart cards.

The workshop has been organised to discuss the feasibility of this pilot with the stakeholders.

The workshop will be held from 2 to 5.30 pm at ‘Gulmohar’ Habitat World, India Habitat Centre.

Objectives of the pilot are:

  • (a) Demonstrate that separation of STB and operator-specific CAS functionality is possible in a secure manner.
  • (b) Frame out and test the specifications for interoperable STBs and SCs in real-life conditions, and suggest improvements.
  • (c) Jointly develop a business model that fairly allocates value to each provider.
  • (d) Fine-tune the architecture proposed by C-DOT and finalise the specifications based on pilot.
  • (e) Test out integrated and swapping of SCs with STBs in a fully secure manner.

TRAI said that entities of the broadcasting sector like CAS providers, SoC vendors, middleware providers, STB manufacturers and service providers like broadcasters, multi-system operators, HITS operators, cable operators and DTH operators can participate in the workshop. Apart from these companies, any start-up and entrepreneur willing to work in this field can participate.

Interested entities can register to attend this workshop on TRAI’s website by providing (a) name, (b) organisation’s name, (c) email, (d) mobile, (e) address, (f) state and (g) country, by 21 September.

TRAI had on 11 August released the framework developed by C-DOT in form of a consultation note on ‘Solution Architecture for Technically Interoperable Set-Top Box’. Prior to that, it had issued a pre-consultation paper on 4 April 2016 to identify various issues relating to technical interoperability of STBs, challenges and concerns of the industry.

C-DOT, the telecom technology development centre of the government of India, has come up with a framework for interoperable STBs based on smart card.

Technical interoperability is a process that allows consumers to change their service provider without changing the hardware.

In the framework suggested by C-DOT, STB interoperability is attained by embedding the proprietary conditional access functionality only in smart card and making the STB a generic device. The interoperable STB would have an open architecture containing operator configurable blocks and the configuration of those blocks would be done through the smart card/ over the air (OTA).

Each operator will have their own smart cards that will be compatible with the interoperable STBs. The subscriber would require buying a new smart card in case he/she wishes to change his/her service provider due to any reasons. S/he would not require buying a new STB. The framework also ensures that existing STBs deployed in the networks will continue to work without any interruption.

The framework envisages an establishment of a trusted authority (TA). The TA will be responsible for issuing authentication codes to STB manufacturers as well as operators. STB manufacturers and operators would be required to apply for getting an authentication code from the TA. Using these authentication codes, the STB manufacturer and the operators, at the manufacturing stage, would fuse the STBs and smart cards with some individual secure keys.