Television Broadcasters are in favour of introducing Know Your Customer (KYC) or e-KYC norms by TRAI for Direct to Home (DTH) Set Top Boxes (STBs) to counter the menace of piracy & STB smuggling to other countries.
The Broadcasters also support incorporating Location Based Services (LBS) in the existing DTH Set Top Boxes as well as to be mandated for all new STBs of all Distributor Platform Operators (DPOs) to track location and facilitate verification.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) & Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) submitted that there is need for the introduction & proper enforcement of meaningful KYC or e-KYC stipulations of DTH Set Top Boxes . It added that this necessary to curb smuggling of DTH STBs outside of India and to bring in some level of threshold checks to counter the menace of piracy.
TRAI had issued a consultation paper on KYC of DTH Set Top Boxes. The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) had sent a reference to TRAI requesting the regulator to give its considered recommendations on desirability or otherwise of Know Your Customer (KYC) for Set Top Boxes (STBs) in DTH Services and if desirable then the process for the same.
Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) stated that DTH platforms in India are permitted to have subscribers only within the territory of India, however some unauthorized STBs of Indian DTH operators are reported to be active and functioning beyond the Indian territory due to the satellite footprints. IBF also noted that one-time KYC or e-KYC should be done at the time of installation by necessary verification conducted of the subscriber address. Post initial verification, random verification can be done on a periodic basis to ensure that Set Top Box is not moved from its installation address.
IBF also said, pirates sell content that are gained through illegal procurement of DTH STBs at a very nominal cost, thus impacting both DTH operators’ and Broadcasters’ revenues. Many top content providers are hesitant to enter Indian market due to very weak Content Protection Laws. In fact, Location Based Services should be mandated for both DTH and HITS operators from piracy prevention perspective.
Sony Pictures Networks India also stated that KYC or e-KYC process should be extended to STBs of all DPOs. Only filling up of Customer Application Forms (CAFs) or e-CAFs by customers is not good enough in tackling piracy as there is no mechanism to ascertain the veracity of information so provided. DPO needs to have geofencing in their Set Top Boxes. Geo-fencing will stop any illegal transfer of STBs into foreign countries. All these steps would help in ensuring that DTH STBs are installed and used at such premises/locations as have been specified by the subscriber at the time of installation of DTH STBs by authorised engineers/technicians of the concerned DTH operator.
Times Network submitted that the LBS may be incorporated in the new Set Top Boxes being seeded in the market. In view of the large STBs already being deployed, the same should not be mandated for the existing STBs. The additional cost for such LBS should form part of the new STBs.
The broadcaster also stated that the KYC process should be designed in such a way that it is driven by technology and causes minimum disturbance to the users while at the same time achieves its desired purpose.
ABP News Network (ANN) supported the The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB)‘s suggestion wherein Filling of KYC form & Verification of Aadhar Card may be mandatory for any customer purchasing DTH equipment. In order to check the location in accordance with Customer ID /Card ID, location-based services need to be made active in DTH STB.