Trai wants to cap DTH platform offers

In the new recommendations issued on Wednesday, Trai has capped the total number of platform services to 3% of the total channel carrying capacity of the DTH player, subject to a maximum of 15 such channels.

MUMBAI: In a move that is likely to be challenged in the courts by the direct-to-home (DTH) players, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trau) has come out with a new set of recommendations for the sector, related to the platform services (PS) they offer to the subscribers.

In the new recommendations issued on Wednesday, Trai has capped the total number of platform services to 3% of the total channel carrying capacity of the DTH player, subject to a maximum of 15 such channels.

At present, Tata Sky alone has over 30 platform services, while Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV also have much more than 15 services.


Incidentally, most of the DTH operators had opposed any cap. In their response to the Trai’s paper, operators had highlighted that they provide pan-India services and need to cater to customers of varied tastes and languages.

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“This will affect our business. At a time when broadcasters are launching their own streaming services to directly distribute their content, why can’t we be allowed to have our own channels? This is opposite of a level playing field,” said an executive of a DTH firm.
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One DTH player had suggested that if Trai feels a limit is required, it should be more than number of PS channels that are existing and that the limit should also be flexible. They had called for similar caps to be placed on cable companies, for maintaining parity.

Trai’s recommendations are only for DTH services. Trai has also stated the PS channels should offer “exclusive programs” and the same content shall not be permitted to be shared directly or indirectly with other cable or DTH platform. Also, PS channels cannot include Doordarshan channels and registered TV channels or foreign TV channels that are not registered in India.
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