TRAI’s New Interconnect Regulations Will Govern Rules for DPO on Watermarking, Fingerprinting and More.
After many discussion & consultation, The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which also oversees the regulations in the DTH & Broadcasting industry has changed the Audit Regulations for the Distribution Platform Operators (DPOs). The new regulations by TRAI has tighten the audit regime by making changes to the interconnection regulations.
As per the new regulations, the operator should schedule the annual audit such that there should be a minimum of 6 months gap between these two audits and a maximum of 18 months of gap between them as well. The minimum transactional capacity required for the Conditional Access System (CAS) & Subscriber Management System (SMS), which was previously set at 10% has now been brought down to 5%. Not only this, but the new interconnect regulations concern other matters like DRM, Scheduling of Audit, Fingerprinting and More.
Fingerprinting of Set Top Boxes
One of the major points of discussion for the Stakeholders in the consultation paper, which was floated for this matter was of fingerprinting & the watermarking of the network logo on the channels. As per the authority, the Set Top Boxes being deployed after the new amendment regulations should support the covert fingerprinting. Some of the DPOs have remarked that the STBs deployed before 2017 do not come with convert fingerprinting as they interconnection regulations before the time did not mandate it. The BIS standards also did not mandate both overt and covert fingerprinting, these Stakeholders added.
Watermarking of Pay Channels
After the new implementation of the interconnect regulations includes the putting of network watermark on the Pay TV channels. The authority has said that the encoders deployed after coming into effect of the new regulations should support the watermarking of the network logo on the pay channels at the encoders’ end. For this, the DPOs have been given two options, with the first one being watermarking of the logo from the encoder’s end before the DTH operator combines all of the signals by the DPO or the DPO can do the watermarking through the middleware provided in the Set Top Box.
CAS & SMS to Handle 5% of Activation & Deactivation of Subscribers
CAS & SMS which are used for activating and deactivating services of subscribers over the Distribution Platform Operators (DPOs) will also be governed by these new rules set up by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). As per the new interconnection regulations, the DPOs should be able to activate or deactivate services or STBs of at least 5% of the subscriber base of the distributor within 24 hours. Previously, discussions were on about CAS & SMS being able to handle 10% of activation and deactivation of subscribers within 24 hours, but this would have put an unnecessary burden on some of the top DPOs and would have meant expensive equipment on their part as well. On the issue of DRM, the authority has said that the issue would be dealt with in a separate consultation paper.