India consults on DTH set-top box interoperability

Friday, February 27th, 2015 
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TRAI issues draft Tariff Order prescribing framework for commercial interoperability of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) in DTH services, for consultation

NEW DELHI — The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has today issued a draft Tariff Order (TO) for consultation with stakeholders. This draft TO prescribes a framework for commercial interoperability of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) offered by the Direct-to-Home (DTH) operators to their subscribers.

In the DTH sector, as on date, CPEs deployed by one operator may not be compatible with the network of another operator. As a result, in case a subscriber wishes to migrate to another operator/platform, he cannot do so without re-investing in another CPE.

The Authority is of the view that interests of subscribers in this regard can be largely protected through the provision for commercial interoperability of CPEs. Commercial interoperability provides for a viable exit option to the subscribers in case they want to switch operator/platform. The draft TO intends to strike a balance between the interests of the consumers and that of the service providers, as well as to curb piling up of e-waste on account of CPEs.

The draft TO covers the following aspects:

  • declaration of the price of all type of CPEs, installation 86 activation charges and applicable taxes on CPEs by the DTH operators;
  • mandatory offering of standard scheme for all type of CPEs on a standalone basis by DTH operators, specifying separately the price of CPE, taxes, other charges etc;
  • flexibility to DTH operators to offer other schemes;
  • flexibility to DTH operators to offer brand new as well as refurbished CPEs;
  • provision of buy-back/refund option in all the offered schemes, including bundled schemes for CPEs;
  • mechanism for buy-back/refund in the standard and other schemes for CPEs;
  • provision of lock-in period for the purpose of refund in the offered schemes for CPEs if the subscriber wants to switch from one operator to the other;
  • applicability of buy-back/refund option for all types of offered CPEs;
  • option for the DTH operators to redeploy the surrendered CPEs;
  • mechanism for registration of request for surrender of connection;
  • time-limit to settle refund/buy-back claims of the subscribers.

As part of the consultative process, this draft TO has been uploaded on TRAI website, seeking comments/views of the stakeholders. The comments may be sent latest by 13th March, 2015, preferably in the electronic form to Mr. Wasi Ahmad, Advisor (B&CS), Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Mahanagar Doorsanchar Bhawan, Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg, New Delhi – 110002, (Tel No. – 011-23237922, Fax No. – 011-23220442) on the e-mail address [email protected] Comments received will be posted on the website of TRAI.