With the Distribution Platform Operators (DPOs) agreeing to share their Application Programme Interface (API) with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the regulator has decided not to mandate DPOs to share their API with the third party at this stage.
The authority also said that doesn’t agree with the Stakeholders that sharing of information through API to the third party has security and privacy issues as now sharing the information with the third party has become normal in any business and proper check and balances can be put in place to overcome the problem of privacy and security.
However, in view of the other suggestions of the stakeholders that they are open to share their API with TRAI and also willing to modify their APP and website as per guidelines issued by TRAI, the Authority is not mandating DPOs to share their APIs with the third party at this stage, TRAI said.
TRAI has issued the second amendment to the quality of services and consumer protection regulation mandating DPOs to make the process of channel/bouquet selection convenient for the customers.
Through this second amendment, the authority is mandating the DPOs to allow the Subscribers / TV Viewers to access channels / bouquets available on its platform and have ease in selection of channels and bouquets (addition/ deletion) of their choice, view their subscription and modify the same through the TRAI’s app /Portal by sharing APIs with TRAI.
The authority is also in the process of finalising the API Specifications which will be communicated separately to the DPOs. DPOs are to share/exchange the information through API with the TRAI whenever the Authority asks for the same for ensuring integration with the TRAI’s app or portal.
TRAI has issued the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection (Addressable Systems) (Second Amendment) Regulations, 2019.
TRAI’s prevailing regulations/orders for the television & broadcasting sector gave freedom to Subscribers / TV Viewers to select television channels they want to watch. To ensure proper implementation of the new framework, TRAI has made number of efforts such as series of meetings with Distribution Platform Operators (DPOs), publicity in electronic and news media, interactions with customer groups etc.
TRAI noted that it was in receipt of several complaints from these TV Viewers that they are not able to choose the TV channels conveniently on the web portal/ apps of the DPOs.
During the consultative process, stakeholders were generally of the view that they have no objection/hesitation in sharing their APIs with TRAI as their data is secure with the regulator and there will not be issues like leakage/misuse of consumer information and privacy of data.
Prior to the consultative process, TRAI had set-up an internal committee to check the functioning of existing APPs and websites of major DPOs. The committee observed that the process of selecting TV channels on various DPOs platform is cumbersome and the process of a subsequent change in the existing subscription is even more tedious.
The committee also noted that basic information such as details of existing TV channels subscription is also not visible to subscribers. To ensure proper choice to the consumers, the authority also issued directions and show cause notices to some DPOs.
In order to address the issue, the authority, in the larger public interest, felt the need to have Channel Selection System developed by the third party to facilitate easy channel selection by consumers.
Accordingly, the authority issued Draft Regulation (Second Amendment) to The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection (Addressable Systems) Regulations 2017 on 9th August 2019.
The basic objective of TRAI was to allow the third party to create an app so that consumers should have ease in selection of channels and bouquets (addition/deletion) of their choice, view their subscription and modify the same which would result in the reduction of TV viewing charges for consumers by optimising their subscription.