Amid discussions of a new National Broadcasting Policy, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is considering amending the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act 1995 to broaden the scope of the law. After releasing a consultation paper early last year, the department is again pushing for the amendment.
According to well-placed 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 Television Transmission Network (Regulation) Act to the existing law, the said proposal highlights some interesting changes.
It turns out that the amendment proposes to expand the scope of authority as defined by law.
Clearly remove the veto right of TRAI, to be defined as “the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India established under Subsection (1) of Section 3 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (24 of 1997);]the authority is proposed to be defined beyond mere TRAI. The proposed new definition of authority is “Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India”. India established under Subsection (1) of Section 3 of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India Act 1997 (24 of 1997);]or any authority prescribed by the Government central. »
The inclusion of LCO and MSO in the “Definitions” under “Cable Operator” is also proposed. Instead of being “any person who provides cable television service through a cable television network or controls or is responsible for the management and operation of a cable television network and fulfills the prescribed eligibility criteria and conditions”, the proposed definition states that a cable operator is “any local cable operator (LCO) or multi-system operator (MSO), as the case may be, that provides cable service via a cable television network cable or controls or is responsible for the management and operation of a cable television network and meets the prescribed eligibility criteria and conditions.”
Said proposal also includes the revision of the definition of “Company” in accordance with the new Companies Act, and the inclusion of the definitions of “DPO”, “DTH”, “HITS”, “IPTV”, “LCO” and “MSO” in the act.
There is also apparently a proposal to incentivize broadcasters and DPOs to adhere to the defined Program Code and Advertising Code.
Under current law, it is mandatory for each cable operator to publish prescribed information, including, but not limited to, subscription tariff quality of service standards and subscriber grievance redress mechanism. in the manner and at periodic intervals specified by the central administration or authority for the benefit of the subscriber. The amended law also makes the same obligation for DPOs/LCOs.
The proposal also includes the inclusion of DPOs in section 4(A) which talks about the transmission of programs via addressable digital systems, etc.
Then there is also a proposal to include “broadband internet access” in the right of way.
The amended section, defining the same, is proposed to read as follows: “Priority of passage for cable operators and authorization by public authority: (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, any cable operator licensed to provide Cable Services/Broadband Internet Access may, from time to time, lay and establish cables and erect poles under, above, alongside, through, in or on any real property vested in or under the control or management of a public authority.”
The proposal also highlights “the shift of data maintenance from manual to electronic form” which is elaborated as “Register Maintenance: Each cable operator shall keep data on programs transmitted or retransmitted through its cable network under the form of an electronic program guide (EPG) and electronically generated log for a period of one year and also share it with the authorized agent and the central government as required”.
Last year’s consultation document also included a section on a proposal to increase the amount of the fine and the insertion of a new paragraph regarding penalties for violations of the Program Code and the Code of advertising. Violation of any of the provisions of the Act was punishable by imprisonment of up to two years or a fine of up to 1,000 rupees or both. The proposal was to increase the fine to Rs 10,000. For subsequent offences, the imprisonment could be up to five years and the fine was Rs 5,000 which was proposed at Rs 50,000 in the law renewed.
Penalties for violations under the amended law would also apply to broadcasters and DPOs, not just cable operators.
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