TRAI has reportedly written to broadcasters who have declared prices for their channels on Cable TV & DTH, but continue to offer then free on Doordarshan's Free Dish DTH platform.

A similar, sore issue currently facing the industry is the availability of various Pay Channels, free on OTT platforms.

OTT platforms are not subjected to the strict regulations that Cable TV and DTH networks are compelled to follow.

The issue needs to be taken up by TRAI, with all pay channel broadcasters. the regulator must make it compulsory for all OTT platforms to register, and follow set rules and guidelines including no carriage of pornographic content (this obviously would have to be considered as part of the Advertising & Programming code).

Then, TRAI can issue a directive prohibiting OTT platforms from delivering Pay Channels on their platform, unless the consumer pays the declared MRP, similar to what is enforced on all Indian Cable TV, IPTV Networks or the HITS & DTH Platforms. Further the QoS norms mandated for carriage of broadcast channels should also be in place on the OTT platform.

Initially the regulator can issue a warning. A second violation should result in a fine to the registered OTT platform, and a third violation could possibly lead to a cancellation of the OTT registration.

Sisir Pillai

TRAI has floated its consultation Paper on Regulatory Framework for Over-The-Top (OTT) Communication Services.

That consultation is only restricted to "... regulatory issues and economic concerns pertaining to such OTT services as can be regarded the same or similar to the services provided by TSPs." The consultation does not include issues outlined above. - Ed