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India’s Trai considers STB freedom

In a similar move to the FCC in the US which is proposing to free up set-top box supply, India’s broadcast and telecom regulator Trai is looking at making set-top boxes interoperable.

“We are working on introducing interoperability on set-top boxes. The idea is to make them more like a telecom device,” Trai chairman Ram Sewak Sharma told Times of India.

Sharma revealed that Trai is considering defining standards for STBs so that changing a service provider for accessing TV content should be the same as changing a telecom operator by just changing your SIM card. “Why should a multi-system operator or a local cable operator supply the digital boxes? The model we are considering is the same as in telecom where the phone is a commodity and content providers can connect with the device through a SIM card,” he advised.

“We will set up standards so that the STBs are not tied to a provider. It should be the same philosophy as it exists in the telecom sector,” he said. “The STB should be de-coupled from the service provider.”

Sharma confirmed that Trai would consult industry stakeholders on the matter of making STBs interoperable.

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