MIB allows MSO infra sharing; issues guidelines
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2 years ago 06:03:37am Television

MIB allows MSO infra sharing; issues guidelines

New Delhi, 03-May-2022, By IBW Team

India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has said it suspended the registration of about 276 MSOs in April, though the reasons were not publicly outlined. However, the MIBs also stated that despite the latest action, the total number of MSOs in the country stood at 1761 at the end of April 2022. The number includes MSOs whose registrations were suspended. From the data put on the website of the Ministry, it is not clear whether the MSOs whose registrations got suspended could get back to delivering normal services as and when the objections raised by the government were addressed and anomalies in the registrations were rectified. A few of the suspended MSOs --- as highlighted by the MIB --- did change the structure of their companies from partnership to proprietorship entities. The list of suspended MSOs could be viewed on the MIB website at https://mib.gov.in/sites/default/files/List%20of%20Registered%20MSOs%20as%20on%2030.04.2022.pdf. There were four MSOs whose registrations were cancelled/surrendered during the month of April. The applications of Shivam Cable & Broadband Private Limited of East Medinipur in West Bengal and Gujrata State's Bhuj-based Rallyon Technology were rejected by the MIB owing to suppression of vital information. In March 2022 also MIB had rejected the application of two MSOs as they had withheld relevant information from the government. The registration of Panduranga Cable Network of Telengana was cancelled in April 2022 due to non-operation. Ditto for Karnataka’s RK Digital Cable TV Network. As per a government order of 2017, all registered MSOs, unless indicated in the registration order specifically, can operate anywhere in India.

As first reported by Indianbroadcastingworld.com last week, the Indian government has formally permitted sharing of infrastructure amongst MSOs on a voluntary basis, subject to the guidelines issued.

“Consequent upon acceptance of TRAI recommendations on ‘Sharing of Infrastructure in Television Broadcasting Distribution Sector’, the sharing of infrastructure by Multi-System Operators is permitted as per the enclosed guidelines,” Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) said Wednesday.

The guidelines, while tweaking some wordings in the regulations to facilitate such sharing, added that the responsibility of compliance to the relevant rules, licenses and orders would continue to be of each MSO independently even though the infrastructure is shared.

An earlier report by Indianbroadcasting world.com on the issue could be read at http://www.indianbroadcastingworld.com/mso-infra-sharing-policy-coming-soon-mibs-sanjiv-shankar/.

The highlights of the guidelines issued include the following:

# Each MSO would ensure encryption of signals and addressability of subscribers under all circumstances and provide access to all the systems and the networks being used to the broadcasters for the purpose of audit as per regulations and also to the authorized government officials whenever requested.

# An MSO, willing to share its transport stream of TV channels with another MSO, should ensure that the latter has valid written interconnection agreements with broadcasters for distribution of pay TV channels to the subscribers.

# MSOs sharing hardware for their SMS applications would provide the details of such arrangements to the MIB, TRAI, and the broadcasters 30 days in advance.

# Each MSO would be accountable for ensuring the integrity and security of the CAS and the SMS data pertaining to such distributor.

# Each MSO would maintain the backup of transaction logs and SMS data on near real time basis for at least past two years, at any point of time, on a secondary storage device.

# When sharing infrastructure and transport streams of TV channels, the MSOs would set up systems and processes that ensure the broadcasters are able to exercise their right of disconnection of signals, in case of default of payment or due to any other reason specified in the interconnection agreements.

# MSOs sharing the infrastructure would put in place necessary technical arrangements for detecting a specific signal pirate in the unlikely event of such an incidence and satisfy a broadcaster’s reasonable concerns at the time of initial audit itself.

# For infrastructure sharing, the new applicant and the existing licensee will jointly submit a detailed proposal, giving details to the MIB of the infrastructure proposed to be shared as well as responsibilities of the parties concerned.

# To ensure continuity of service to subscribers in the event of a disaster, the operator(s) should have an arrangement of sharing disaster recovery system in hot-standby mode.

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