Set-Top Interoperability Planned By TRAI Is The Next Big Thing In DTH And Cable TV Sector

In the second half of last year and 2019, the broadcasting industryhas undergone a lot of changes owing to the new regulatory framework introduced by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The telecom regulator introduced this new regime which brought massive changes in the pricing and the methods which the DTH operators had adopted to provide services to the consumers. Not only this, but the quality of service norms were also scrutinised by the telecom regulator led to better services for the consumers. But still, there is one service which if implemented in the DTH space would make the lives of the consumer even better and it is the service of DTH Set-Top Box interoperability. What do we know about interoperability and how it will help the consumers, let’s check it out.’

Progress in Set-Top Box Interoperability Implementation

Now we all know that the talks about interoperability have been moving around in chatters across the industry, but yet there has been no prototype for the same. But, that does not mean that the industry regulator or the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is not working on it. In fact, TRAI chairman, RS Sharma has also spoken at length about STB interoperability and said that it could be rolled out by the end of 2019. He also added that the telecom regulator has been working on this since the past two years, and now it is high time that STB interoperability is finally brought to the consumers. With this, he also asserted the importance of open-source systems and how they will be beneficial for the DTH space.

Advantages of STB Interoperability and Why it is Useful

Currently, if the subscribers want to change their DTH operator, then they have to cross the hurdle of switching their DTH set-top boxes. Now it is very well known that the DTH set-top boxes which the companies retail cost upwards of Rs 1,000 easily and in many cases even north of Rs 2,000 as well, as such the consumers are sometimes hesitant to move to another DTH company. Especially in an industry where the DTH operators are rolling out new offers, attractive plans and more for the subscribers, the consumers might feel restricted in changing their service provider with no STB interoperability.

When the technology is made feasible, it will be easy for the subscribers to switch between the DTH service providers because then they will be able to use the STB from one provider with the services of other. In the process, the subscribers will be able to save more than Rs 1,000, which they would otherwise spend on getting a new STB.

TRAI’s Attempts to Better Customer Service

What’s interesting is that in the past few months, the telecom regulator has introduced rules which have immensely increased the quality of service norms and the adherence of the DTH operators to it. Due to the new rules, the DTH service providers have emphasised a proper functioning website, streamlined consumer-centric applications and even set up proper call centres for the ease of the subscribers. In such a scenario and with increasing level of QoS, the introduction of STB interoperability would be the next step.―Telecom Talk

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