TRAI agrees with MIB's suggestions for MSOs registration renewal

After examination, TRAI has finalised its response to the back-reference by agreeing to the comments/suggested modifications of the Ministry, TRAI said

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TRAI agrees with MIB's suggestions for MSOs registration renewal

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued its response to the back-reference received from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) regarding its earlier recommendations on "Renewal of Multi-System Operators (MSOs) Registration". 

After examination, it has finalised its response to the back-reference by agreeing to the comments/suggested modifications of MIB, TRAI said. 

The authority, in the recommendation letter, stated that all such registrations, which have either expired or are about to expire within the next eight months from the date of implementation of decision of MIB with reference to renewal of MSO registrations, should be deemed to expire after eight months from the date of implementation of rules/guidelines for renewal. 

On this recommendation, MIB suggested that the issue of extension of validity of registration of MSOs which have either expired or about to expire till decision on "Renewal Procedure '' is implemented was duly considered in the Ministry. To ensure continuity of services offered by the MSOs, it has been decided by the authority that MIB may seek details like number of subscribers to check whether the MSO is operational and filled in security clearance form to get necessary security inputs from Ministry of Home Affairs and may grant temporary extension, subject to compliance of terms and conditions of MSO registration and receipt of security clearance from Ministry of Home Affairs. 

Accordingly, the above details were sought from MSOs who were expecting the expiry of their MSO registration. Only those MSOs who had either furnished the above details or made a request before MIB for renewal of registration were granted temporary extension subject to relevant necessary compliance and security clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs. 

The MSO registrations of those who had not furnished above details or made any request for renewal were allowed to expire. At present, the Ministry has granted temporary extension till June 30, 2023 on applicable cases. 

TRAI said that the authority accepts the suggested model. However, MIB may ensure that all the MSOs concerned are informed well before the expiry of their registration for the renewal process while seeking requisite details. 

"The communication to the MSOs must clearly mention that if the requisite details are not submitted in the specified time, it will be presumed that the MSO concerned is not seeking renewal of registration and that their registration will expire," TRAI stated in its response. 

In its recommendation, TRAI also mentioned that every renewal application shall be referred to the Authority for confirmation to compliance of extant rules and regulations. The process

seeking confirmation of compliance may be online through Broadcast Seva Portal.

The Authority will provide explicit instances of non-compliance if such is the case within fifteen days of online referral. For the purposes of transparency and clarity, TRAI shall release a detailed circular on its website which shall contain the specifics of the review process and grounds

of such a review by TRAI. If the authority does not respond within fifteen days of such referral, then the compliance from the regulator may be considered as deemed confirmation. 

On this recommendation, MIB stated that the renewal of registration of an MSO under the CTN

Act, 1995 is a quasi-judicial process. The Registering Authority is required to grant the opportunity of being heard before denying registration. The decision of Registering Authority is

appealable before the Central Government. The compliance to TRAI regulation, guidelines and

orders are part of terms and conditions of registration granted to an MSO. Hence, TRAI may share instances of non-compliance at any point of time and MIB may take action as per the provisions of CTN Act and Rules. It is suggested that the process of TRAI sharing the details

of defaulter MSOs with MIB for necessary action should continue to be followed and the same should not be mixed specifically with the process of renewal of registration. 

TRAI stated that it accepts MIB's response. The authority will continue to send the details of non-compliance of MSOs at regular intervals. 

TRAI further said that MIB in its back reference has not commented on any of the remaining recommendations. “Therefore, it is presumed that MIB has accepted remaining recommendations on 'Renewal of MSOs Registration'.”

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