TRAI aims new policy on inter-operability of cable and DTH STBs

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a consultation paper to seek views on policy formulation with regard to inter-operability of cable and DTH set-top boxes (STBs).tvConsumers need to link their TVs with the STBs of a cable or DTH operator to be able to watch TV channels. However, unlike other developed markets, the same STB cannot be interchangeably used for different service providers.

“The lack of interoperability of STBs between different service providers has not only compromised the competition in the pay-TV market but is a major hindrance to technological innovation, improvement in service quality, and sector growth,” the regulator stated on Monday.

TRAI said inter-operable STBs will provide freedom of choice to consumers, create an open market and help solve the problems of e-waste.

TRAI has sought views on whether a policy should be formulated for the implementation of interoperability, separately, among DTH networks and cable networks. It further questions whether the same STB can be used interchangeably between DTH and cable platforms in the policy.

It has also sought views on whether software-based solutions will be easier to implement compared to hardware-based solutions without compromising on content security.

During the pre-consultation phase and other deliberations, players have expressed concerns over rise in costs of STBs, cost of replacements and issues on the quality of STBs, among others.

TRAI said the smart card-based solution has been successfully tested in lab conditions using separate instances of CAS developed by C-DoT. However, the field testing with third-party CAS solution is still to be conducted with different industry stakeholders.