The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has released the names of multi-system operators (MSOs) as per the status of their compliance with TRAI's interconnection regulation. The Ministry has also advised broadcasters to enter into fresh interconnection or renewal agreements with only those MSOs whose status is "compliant".
In an advisory, the Ministry stated that broadcasters registered with the I&B Ministry have often raised the issue of underreporting of subscriber base and non-compliance to TRAI's Audit regulation by cable operators leading to loss of revenue to them.
As per the interconnection regulation issued by TRAI, a broadcaster has to sign an interconnection agreement with the distributor of television channels for providing signals on a nondiscriminatory basis.
Interconnection Regulations 2017 issued by TRAI, mandates that every distributor of television channels, once in a calendar year, shall cause an audit of its subscriber management system, conditional access system and other related systems by an auditor to verify that the monthly subscription reports made available by the distributor to the broadcasters are complete, true and correct.
Further, these regulations also provide an option for broadcasters to get audited the systems used by distributors of television channels, if they are not satisfied with the audit report. Compliance with TRAI's regulations by MSOs is mandated under Rule 10 and Rule 11D(b) of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994, the Ministry stated.
Also, in order to ensure adherence to the provisions of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and Rules framed thereunder, the Ministry under Rule 10A of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 directed all the MSOs to furnish information such as head-end locations, Conditional Access System, Transport Stream/Frequency detail, RF Feed Details, Platform Service details, CTAV Signal distribution areas, STB Seeding details etc. at www.digitalindiamib.com.
It has been observed by this Ministry that despite the above mechanisms being in place, the response of the majority of MSOs “has not been satisfactory”.
“Despite providing ample opportunities, many MSOs failed to get registered on the Digital India MIB portal and furnish the above-mentioned information on the portal,” the Ministry stated in the advisory.
Non-compliance with MIB's/TRAI's directions/regulations by cable operators has been viewed very seriously in this Ministry. It has been decided that MIB shall mark the MSOs who fail to comply with the terms and conditions of registration granted to them such as contraventions of Audit Regulations, non-furnishing of information to MIB, non-intimation of change of directors/shareholders etc., as "Non-Compliant".
A list of registered MSOs along with their compliance status is published on Ministry's website that is www.mib.gov.in under the following tab: Broadcasting-Document-Digital Addressable System
Such lists of MSOs shall be frequently updated on the Ministry's website for reference of the concerned stakeholder.
Compliance Status of the Registered MSOs: https://mib.gov.in/sites/default/files/List%20of%20Compliant%20and%20Non-Compliant%20MSOs%20as%20on%2022.03.2023.pdf
The I&B Ministry also said that if a broadcaster is already in an interconnection agreement with a "Non-compliant" MSO, it is suggested that they notify the MSO through an email with a copy of the communication marked to them at email ID firstname.lastname@example.org to contact the Ministry and get its status changed to "Compliant".