Trai warns multi-system, cable operators against illegal channel distribution
New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) Wednesday warned all multi-system operators and cable operators against illegal channel distribution practices.
In a statement, the regulator said it has received complaints against several multi-system operators (MSOs) which are placing television channels at more than one frequency (channel number) and under multiple genres simultaneously.
“The authority views such practice as a material non-compliance of the extant regulatory framework prescribed by it. Therefore, all the MSOs are hereby advised to strictly comply with the extant regulatory framework in letter as well as spirit,” Trai said in the statement.
MSOs run large cable distribution networks. Currently, there are 700 MSOs and 60,000 cable operators in the country.
This comes in the backdrop of the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) asking the regulator to intervene and take action against Arnab Goswami’s recently launched news channel Republic TV over alleged unethical distribution practices.
NBA is the representative body of private television news channels. In a letter dated 12 May, NBA had said Republic TV has been registered by various cable distribution platforms multiple times under different genres, making the channel appear more than once in their electronic programme guide (EPG), a violation of Trai interconnection regulations.
Under current regulations, every channel has to declare its genre to the regulator and every distributor is mandated to assign a unique channel number to each TV channel. A particular channel can place itself in one of the prescribed 11 genres— news or current affairs, infotainment, sports, kids, music, lifestyle, movies, religious or devotional, general entertainment (Hindi/English/regional language).
“Multi-system operators (MSOs) carrying a channel on their network, have been mandated to place that channel in the genre so declared by the broadcaster of that channel. The MSO is required to ensure that all the channels falling in a particular genre appear in its network’s EPG (electronic programme guide) under that genre,” the regulator said in the statement.
The regulator added that strict action (depending on the complaint) shall be taken against the operators violating Trai regulation.