The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday advised Star India to maintain status-quo as it was prior to January 2020 and withdraw its letter to DPOs vide which non-compliant RIOs have been sought to be affected from 1st October 2020. TRAI has warned Star India against action under the provisions of the TRAI Act, 1997 if it fails to comply with the direction.
DreamDTH has a copy of the letter that has been marked to Star India by TRAI’s V K Agarwal who is the Joint Advisor (B&CS). The letter has been necessitated after several distribution platform operators (DPOs) petitioned TRAI against Star India’s letter intimating the effect of RIO dated 01.01.2020 from 01.10.2020 which requires the DPOs to sign the same. The DPOs have further said that the said RIO is not in compliance with Tariff Amendment Order 2020.
TRAI has directed Star India to file a compliance report in the regard within 3 days following which TRAI will take appropriate action if it fails to furnish the report. Star India has been told that if it wishes then it can file new RIOs as per the provision of amended Regulations 2020 and Tariff Amendment Order 2020.
TRAI further pointed out that broadcasters including Star India had maintained status quo by way of extension of interconnection agreements entered with DPOs based on RIOs published by them prior to 01.01.2020 or have filed RIOs as per the provisions of amended Regulations 2020 and Tariff Amendment Order 2020.
While the NTO 2.0 impasse continues with the Bombay High Court yet to wrap up hearings, given that the High Court refrained from staying the amended regulations the big four broadcasters and Discovery have found it hard to push their new RIOs which are non-compliant with the amended Regulations 2020.
While certain errant MSOs continue to refrain from implementing NTO 2.0 certain MSOs and all DTH operators are NTO 2.0 compliant since the first week of March having revised their Network Capacity Fee.
The inability of pushing a new RIO is making things hard for Star India and certain other broadcasters who are keen to shutdown and launch new channels. While they are free to launch and shutdown channels, the inability to push a new RIO which is non-compliant with NTO 2.0 makes it tough to package a new channel into existing bouquets.
While the inner coterie of IBF continues to oppose and refrain from falling in line with NTO 2.0, atleast five broadcasters namely Mavis Satcom, CSL Infomedia, IN10 Media, Odisha TV, and Lex Sportel Vision have already published their new Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO) in line with NTO 2.0.
Credits – Akash Solanki, DreamDTH Community Forums