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Government looks to finalise rules for local channels


NEW DELHI:  The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has made yet another attempt to finalise the regulatory framework – as well as implementation – of ‘platform services’ offered by cable operators.

The ministry has sought suggestions and comments from the stakeholders on fresh recommendations pertaining to the framework made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in February.
The detailed recommendations are available on the authority’s portal. Any stakeholder, subscriber or cable operator may send views or feedback to the ministry via e-mail at sodas-moiab@gov.in.

Platform services commonly known as ‘local channels’ are localised content, programmes, news produced and provided by distribution platform operators (DPOs) or cable operators in addition to satellite channels transmitted by them.

DPO also includes direct to home (DTH) service providers, internet protocol television (IPTV) operators and head-end into the sky (HITS) operators. They sometimes source these programmes from the local content producers.

The ministry has been working to put in place an appropriate regulatory framework on the platform services since 2013 when it sought recommendations of TRAI on the issues related to local ground-based channels of cable TV operators for the first time.

Twice the consultation paper (CP) on platform services was issued by TRAI, in 2014 and 2019. It also held an open house discussion on both occasions to seek the views of the stakeholders on various matters.