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CATV Digitization - Accounting of Digital STBs (DSTBs) is Crucial to National Security and Public Safety

" 1. Based upon the complaint of broadcasters, today's TOI has reported that TRAI has admonished the Local Cable Operators (LCOs) to ensure that Customer Acquisition Forms (CAFs) are deposited with MSOs very quickly so that broadcasters get their payments in time. Surely, payments of broadcasters should not be delayed but non completion of CAFs has extremely serious issue.

2. CASBAA India Forum 2013 was held today in Shangrila. In the panel discussion "Digital Dream", a point was raised that CAFs are not being deposited with MSOs and that even phase 1 CAFs are still not completed whereas the date of completion of phase 1 was 31 Oct 2012. Phase 2 CAFs are also lagging big time.

3. Though plain vanilla DSTBs are quite innocuous but a sophisticated DSTB can easily act as a PC, lap top, tablet, wireless modem, a Fixed Wireless Terminal (FWT) capable of being used for both voice and data by inserting a SIM card or when connected to Internet, it can communicate any where in the world. This calls for 100 % accounting of DSTBs, right from the time these land at the port of clearance, come in side the warehouse, reach the customer premises, get connected to the cable and installed, provisioned and finally activated.

4. No manual CAFs can ever suffice to deliver 100 % accounting. The need is to simply adopt the prov-en process what telcos have successfully adopted to account for each of the 900 mn SIM cards. Nation can not afford to leave any DSTB unaccounted before its activation implying that when it is sold to a customer, all mandatory aspects of ownership, identity, address verification, contact Nos including mobile, e-mail id are all captured and only then it is provisioned and activated.

5. This calls for digital on-line CAF apart from keeping a manual record of CAF, photo id and Address Verification (AV). Each DSTB details including smart card No, address, name of owner, contacts etc are immediately captured in MSOs SMS Data Base and suitably entered into CAS too. Any authorised person like in the MI&B, the JS in-charge of the world's largest CATV digitization should be able to log into the SMS DB and see the status of DSTBs on his/her mobile, tablet, laptop or PC without even calling up the MSO. All this is inescapable, otherwise, DSTB can be misused by anti national elements to send communication to create disturbance, communal disharmony and ultimately endanger the national security and public safety just like the MMS clip unleashed that horrible communal violence in NE which spread to the rest of India in no time resulting into 100 people losing their lives needlessly.

6. On behalf of Broadband India Forum (BIF), we have proposed to the MIB that the digital on-line CAFs should be captured for all DSTBs introduced into metros for phase 1 as also for the on going phase 2. If needed, suitable amendments should be inserted into the license/registration conditions of DAS service providers to ensure that each DSTB is accounted for just like a mobile SIM card. "

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