TRAI Hopes For Set Top Box Interoperability By Year-End

Industry regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is moving forward in its efforts to enable Television-Set Top Box (TV-STB) interoperability, with the watchdog stating this week that it is examining possible solutions for the problem. TRAI expects to make some headway with cooperation from the industry by the end of this year.

In a statement on Friday, TRAI said that it has begun discussing ‘downloadable’ Conditional Access System (CAS) based solution’ to implement STB interoperability. The authority conducted a workshop on the same this week.

Interoperability is a matter of importance for TV consumers in India, since STBs are tied to the respective service providers currently. When a consumer wants to change the service provider, they are forced to invest in a new STB which adds a substantial cost burden. Older STBs also remain unused after such a transition.

Now that TRAI has rolled out a new framework for TV services allowing consumers to pay only for channels they wish to see, the regulator believes that this choice also entails offering freedom to avail better service offerings.

“As a logical next step towards this objective, Trai has been exploring the important issue of interoperability of STB….Interoperability of STB is also desirable for creation of open and competitive market bringing in advantage of volume of scale and consumer preference,” TRAI said.

TRAI is now working with system integrators, vendors, CAS providers and other stakeholders for technical discussions and detailed consultations will be followed by a Proof-of-Concept test. It also hopes that the involvement of the industry stakeholders would help in developing acceptable solution for STB interoperability by the year-end.

Speaking at the workshop, TRAI Chairman R S Sharma asserted that consumer interest remains the focus of the authority.―New Indian Express

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