KTMT Consulting

Vision - Help the world become Knowledgeable, Healthy and Safe
through Telecom, Media and Technology (TMT)

"Vision - Help the world become knowledgeable, healthy and safe through Telecom, Media and Technology (TMT)".   "Danze-a-holla Workshop for Children and Adults".  "@MPVNO, NTOC, JEC and JNS are registered trade marks of KTMT Consulting".

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Open Access in DTH is Good for Both Consumers and Service Providers while Eliminating Unnecessary Regulations
1. We in KTMT keep thinking about how to optimize Telecom, Media and Technology (TMT) services basically to quickly proliferate these as these directly impact the upward growth of India's GDP. While MNP has done good for consumers for enjoying best possible mobile services, the concept of open access in the rest of TMT services like fixed voice, fixed broadband, CATV and DTH are candidates for improving the customer experience. This note focuses upon introduction of open access in DTH.

2. DTH service is realized by the deployment of dish, LNB, cable and STB at the customer premises. The DTH head end and uplink earth station are at the back end and customers are not directly impacted by this. Dish, LNB and cable are straightforward and are most common part of Customer Premises Infrastructure (CPI) very easily re-deployed with simple re-orientation of the dish to align towards the satellite of the DTH service provider.

3. The other day, I changed my DTH service provider from old to new. When the new DTH operator sent the entire CPI along with two technicians for installation, I explained to the installers that as my CPI from old DTH operator is already owned by me, duly paid for, installed and working well, I would not like to buy new set of dish, LNB and cable. They must re-orient the dish towards the new satellite and just install the new STB and my new DTH connection starts. The installers agreed with me but said that their company does not allow such things. I immediately called up the new DTH operator and was told that I have to buy the entire CPI of dish, LNB, cable and STB. I could not digest this unreasonable proposition because I have already paid for CPI to the old DTH operator and new DTH operator also wants me to buy the entire CPI again and pay for it. I decided that while I would pay for the entire new CPI but would re-use the old dish, LNB and cable. I paid for the entire CPI and asked the installer to re-use the old dish, LNB and 25 meter cable. Within 20 mins, my new DTH connection was on with old dish, LNB, 25 meter cable and new STB. The new dish, metallic brackets, nuts, bolts, LNB and 25 meter cable duly paid for (approx 1500/-) by me were got kept in my store room on my terrace and are lying brand new and unused for last three months. Imagine, throwing away 1500/-, unnecessary accumulation of brand new wasteful inventory lying unused, getting rusted and becoming non-functional due to weather conditions. India has more than 45 million DTH subs, the amount of such wasteful expenditure and inventory can be imagined. How to even dispose of this e-waste is also a big question causing great harm to environment from green to black. All of this just because of absence of a simple regulation of open access in case any sub wants to change the DTH service provider.

4. With regard to STB, this through CAM can easily be re-used provided all DTH back ends have similar encoding system like MPEG 4. CAM is a bit costly though and thus can be made optional to start with. In any case, STB is a competitive advantage for DTH operator and thus may be left out of the re-use of CPI to start with until a solution is found for inter-op STBs.

5. KTMT is of the view that TRAI may consider a suo moto consultation on "Open Access in DTH" and go through its tested and proven consultation process. This would be a very good step leading towards an overall optimization of this service nation wide as open access is the best method of eliminating monopoly, improving the service and reducing regulations. Imagine, one day all TMT services becoming open access and consumers having the best overall experience and not many regulations needed.


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