Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Media Law

The Cable Television Networks 

(Regulation) Amendment Act, 2011


The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), in its recommendations dated the 5th August, 2010 on "Implementation of Digital Addressable Cable Systems in India" had, inter alia, recommended that " digitalization with addressability be implemented on priority in cable TV services in Non-CAS areas" and, accordingly, recommended a time-frame comprising four phases for switch over from analog system to the Digital Addressable System (DAS) in the cable TV sector. In view of the above-mentioned recommendations of the TRAI, the Central Government decided to introduce digitalization with addressability in the cable TV services in a phased time bound manner on a pan India basis, leading to complete switch off of analog TV services by the 31st December, 2014. 
For the implementation of DAS, certain amendments were required to be made in the aforesaid Act mandating all cable operators to provide programs of all channels, including free-to-air (FTA) channels, in an encrypted form through DAS in a phased manner at specified areas from specified dates to be notified by the Central Government. It is also mandatory that any such notification should give at least six months time to the cable operators for being able to install the necessary digital equipments for migration and educate the subscribers in this area. In order to protect the interest of consumers, it has been proposed to empower TRAI to specify a package
of free-to-air channels, called basic service tier, which shall be offered by every cable operator to the consumers. It is also necessary that every cable operator should offer channels in the basic service tier on a la carte (individual) basis to consumers at a tariff fixed by TRAI.
It has also been considered necessary to carry out certain amendments in the Act for rectifying certain deficiencies noticed during the operation of the Act for the last fifteen years. These, inter alia, include systemization of registration of cable operators, providing right of way to cable operators and permission by public authorities, compulsory transmission of certain channels, inspection of cable network services, prescription of interference standards by the Central Government and empowering the TRAI to specify basic service tier and its tariff.
The Act has come into force from 25thday of December 2011.

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