Friday, 29 November 2013

TRAI summons MSOs over DAS implementation

Rahul Khullar, Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is on a war path implement digitisation in Cable TV. Dissatisfied by the response of MSO on his numerous warnings to operationalise their SMS systems feeding in consumer data from CAF, he has convened a meeting of top executives from leading multi-system operators (MSOs) to take stock of the implementation of digital addressable system (DAS) in Phase I and II cities. 
The meeting, which will take place tomorrow at TRAI headquarters in New Delhi, will see the TRAI chairman pose some tough questions to the CEOs and MDs of cable TV companies on issues pertaining to customer application form (CAF) collection, implementation of the subscriber management system (SMS), and consumer billing aspects for Phase I and II notified areas covering 41 cities excluding Chennai. 

Incidentally, the meeting coincides with the 29 November deadline set by the sector regulator for MSOs in DAS Phase II areas to operationalise their SMS and furnish a compliance report. 
The meeting is expected to be attended by Hathway Cable and Datacom MD and CEO Jagdish Kumar, DEN Networks CEO SN Sharma, IndusInd Media and Communications Limited (IMCL) MD Ravi Mansukhani, Siti Cable CEO VD Vadhwa and GTPL COO Shaji Mathews. 
It is expected that the chairman will try to thrash out all issues holding up the implementation including billing and CAF collection issues between MSOs and their LCOs. LCOs are demanding that they be permitted to bill their customers since they own the last mile network.
TRAI is expected to do some tough talking with the MSOs, particularly since the CAF collection for the Phase II cities is yet to be completed fully and subscriber billing is yet to begin in right earnest in the Phase I cities. 
TRAI is not expected to grant more time to the MSOs on CAF collection in Phase II cities, the deadline for which ended on 15 November. 
MSOs to deactivate boxes where they have not been able to collect CAFs. The deadline is 29 November. They were also warned against strict action if orders were not complied with.
The MSOs who have so far shied away from switching off set-top boxes (STBs) fearing backlash from the LCO and the subscriber will now have to fall in line and go by the DAS rule book. The pressure is mounting on them. 
The authority had earlier this month asked the MSOs to send a compliance report on the status of subscriber billing in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata by 15 November.


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