MIB to change cable TV network law (regulation)

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In the midst of discussions on a new national broadcasting policy, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is considering amending the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act 1995 with the aim of broadening the scope of the law. . After releasing a consultation paper early last year, the ministry is pushing again for the amendment.

According to senior sources, in a proposal document dated earlier this month, one of the main proposals of the amendment is to include broadcasters and DPOs within the scope of the law.

In addition to proposing a new name of TV transmission network law (regulation) to the existing law, the said proposal highlights some interesting changes.

It turns out that the amendment proposes to expand the scope of power as defined by law.

Clearly remove TRAI’s veto, to be defined as “the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India established under subsection (1) of Article 3 of the Authority Act 1997 Telecommunications Regulation of India (24 of 1997);]authority is proposed to be defined beyond just TRAI. The proposed new definition of authority is the “Telecom Regulatory Authority of India established under the subsection (1) of section 3 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 (24 of 1997);]or any such authority prescribed by central government.

The inclusion of LCO and MSO in “Definitions” under “Cable Operator” is also proposed. “Anyone who provides a cable television service through a cable television network or controls or is responsible for the management and operation of a cable television network and meets the criteria and conditions for ‘prescribed eligibility’, the proposed definition says that a cable operator is “any local cable operator (LCO) or multi-system operator (MSO) as the case may be, which provides cable service through a cable television network or controls or is responsible for the management and operation of a cable television network and meets the prescribed eligibility criteria and conditions. “

The said proposal also includes the revision of the definition of “Company” in accordance with the new Company Law and the inclusion of the definitions of “DPO”, “DTH”, “HITS”, “IPTV”, “LCO” and ” MSO ”in the act.

It is also apparently proposed to include broadcasters and DPOs to adhere to the defined program code and the advertising code.

Under current law, it is mandatory for every cable operator to publish prescribed information including, but not limited to, QoS subscription rate standards and subscriber grievance redress mechanism. in the manner and at periodic intervals which may be specified by the central administration or the authority for the benefit of the subscriber. The amended law makes the same compulsory for DPO / LCO.

The proposal also includes the inclusion of DPD in section 4 (A) which talks about transmission of programs via digital addressable systems etc.

Then, it is also proposed to include “broadband Internet access” in the right-of-way.

The amended section, defining the same thing, is proposed to read as “Right of way for cable operators and authorization from the public authority: – (1) Subject to the provisions of this law, any authorized cable operator providing cable services / high speed internet access may, from time to time, lay and establish cables and erect poles under, over, along, across, in or on any vested or controlled building or the management of a public authority.

The proposal also highlights “the shift from data maintenance from manual to electronic form” which is developed as “Registry maintenance: each cable operator must keep data on programs transmitted or retransmitted via its cable network. in the form of an electronic programming guide (EPG) and the electronically generated log for a period of one year and also share it with the authorized agent and the central government as needed ”.

Last year’s consultation document also included a section on a proposal to increase the amount of the financial penalty and the insertion of a new subsection on penalties for violations of the program code and the code. advertising. Any violation of any provision of the law was punishable by imprisonment of up to two years or a fine of up to Rs 1,000 or both. The proposal was to increase the fine to Rs 10,000. For subsequent offenses the imprisonment could be up to five years and the fine was Rs 5,000, which was proposed at Rs 50,000 in the act. renewed.

The penalties for breaches, under the amended law, would also apply to broadcasters and DPOs and not just to cable operators.

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