TRAI recommends MIB not to mandate incorporation of LBS in DTH STBs

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has today released its recommendations on ‘KYC of DTH Set Top Boxes’. The TRAI has recommended that there is no need to mandate DTH operators to incorporate Location Based Services (LBS) in STBs.

The Authority is of the view that provisioning of the LBS would unnecessarily increase the cost of equipment, which has to be borne by the subscribers without any substantial gain to the industry.

It further stated that no stakeholder has submitted any concrete figure with respect to the extent of revenue loss due to carrying of STB to another country as apprehended by some stakeholders.

“In a nutshell, the cost outweighs the benefits (cost-benefit analysis) in provisioning LBS facility in set top boxes. Hence it would not be appropriate to mandate location-based services in DTH set top boxes owing to its nature of being unidirectional services in broadcast mode,” TRAI noted.

The authority has recommended that a DTH operator should install the DTH connection at the address mentioned in the Customer Application Form (CAF) only and the address of such installed set top box (STB) must be verified by the representative of the DTH operator and record of such installation shall be maintained by the DTH operator.

It has further stated that DTH operator should ensure the identity of the subscriber by sending the one-time password (OTP) to his registered mobile number.

In cases where a registered mobile number is not provided by the subscriber/corporate body, DTH operator should collect Proof of Identity or any other similar document which can establish the identity of the user either in physical or electronic form before provisioning of DTH connection.

The authority noted that generally there is a Registered Mobile Number (RMN) linked with DTH connection and the connection is installed by the representative of the DTH operator at the premise provided by the consumer.

“In telecom, there is mandatory KYC requirement for issuing new mobile connections and re-verification of existing subscribers by service providers. This requirement of mandatory KYC can be leveraged for the DTH connection for all the subscribers who have registered their mobile number with their DTH connection.”

It also noted that there is no need to mandate physical verification at regular intervals as it will incur a huge cost burden to the DTH operators and inconvenience to the consumers.

The authority observed that the physical verification will require a technician to visit the household physically and confirm the address against the address provided in CAF at the time of installation.

At present, there is no technological solution available to verify the location of installed STB but to visit physically the consumer premise. “Looking at the huge number of seeded STBs, the cost of physical verification would be substantially high for DTH operators which may be passed on to the subscribers,” TRAI noted.

However, for existing STBs, which are not attached to any mobile number of the subscribers, efforts should be made by the DTH operator to associate such STBs issued by them to link with a mobile number within a period of two years.

Further in the case where it is not possible to link with a mobile number, a document for proof of identity of the subscriber should be collected by the DTH operator.

The authority had received a reference from the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) seeking its recommendations on the desirability or otherwise of Know Your Customer (KYC) for STBs, in DTH Services and if desirable, then the process for the same.

In order to deliberate on various aspects and to seek inputs from the industry stakeholders, TRAI issued a consultation paper on “KYC of DTH Set Top Boxes”, on 19th July 2019.

Written comments and counter comments on the consultation paper were invited from the stakeholders by 19th August 2019 and 02nd September 2019. Subsequently, an open house discussion was held on 26th September 2019, in Delhi, to seek further views of the stakeholders on various issues.

Based on the comments of the stakeholders received during the abovementioned consultation process and its own analysis, the authority has finalised its recommendations on ‘KYC of DTH Set Top Boxes’.

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