No compensation for STB upgradation to DTH players: Trai

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has dismissed the reported demand from two direct-to-home (DTH) players – Tata Sky and DISH TV– that they should be compensated to the tune of Rs 6 billion if they are to upgrade their old set-top boxes (STBs) to MPEG4 format.
According to reports in the media, Tata Sky and Dish TV have sent individual letters to the government saying that since the new entrants – like Reliance ADAG and Bharti Airtel – would give feed in the MPEG4 format, the clause of interoperability of STBs would hurt the existing players.
The clause of interoperability says that STBs for DTH should be interoperable between all DTH service providers, so that subscribers can change from one to another without changing their STBs.

Hence, the grouse of the existing players is that if people choose to migrate from the new players – who will give their feed on the MPEG4 format- to the older players, it would not be possible, as the latter use the MPEG2 format.

The two companies have, thus, reportedly asked the government to fund them for makeover to the MPEG4 format for their combined subscription base of five million, because all these STBs have to be changed.

“The question does not arise for government funding,” a senior Trai official told indiantelevision.com. “I am not even sure whether the companies have actually written to the government. But they have certainly not written to Trai.”

The official said that these new players did not put in any such objection with Trai when the consultation process for formulating the regulation was on.

He added, “Even if they have written to the government, there is no substance in the demand, as the regulation clearly says that existing subscribers will continue to get the feed on MPEG2 format, and only new subscribers will have to be given on MPEG4.”

He said that even for the existing players, the same suppliers who are giving the MPEG2 STBs shall give the higher version, and TataSky and dishtv can give their new connections from there.

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