The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), suo-moto, has taken up the issue of Set Top Box (STB) interoperability in the Indian broadcasting TV sector. 

TRAI had earlier issued a pre-consultation paper on April 4, 2016 to identify various issues relating to technical interoperability of STBs, challenges and concerns of the industry. The said paper was released with intent to drive the focus of the TV broadcasting industry towards the suitable practical solutions for technical interoperability of STBs. In response to the pre-consultation paper a total of 28 comments were received from stakeholders. These comments are available on TRAI’s website.

Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), the telecom technology development center of the Government of India, came up with a framework for interoperable STBs based on Smart Card. Approaches suggested independently by IIT Bombay, and the architecture independently developed by C-DOT have strong similarities.

TRAI released the said framework, developed by C-DOT in form of a consultation note on Solution Architecture for Technically Interoperable Set Top Box on its website on August 11,2017 for gathering response of the entire sector. Stakeholders were requested to provide their comments on the solution architecture by August 25,2017. A total of 19 comments have been received and uploaded on TRAI’s website.

TRAI’s objective is to chalk out a framework to facilitate consumer choice,innovation, orderly growth and healthy competition in the industry. The framework should enable an ecosystem to give the market a chance to evolve at its own pace and independently respond to consumer demands. To meet the said objective, TRAI is organizing a workshop on proposed solution architecture for interoperable STBs. This workshop has been organized to deliberate on the proposed architecture solution. TRAI has also contemplated to launch a pilot project with a short-term objective of development of a prototype of the interoperable STB & compatible Smart cards. Interested stakeholders are encouraged to join the said workshop and be the part of the pilot project.

The workshop will be held on September 6, 2017 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. 

This Workshop aims to fulfill the ultimate goal of bringing STB interoperability in the country, it is important that the framework for such interoperability addresses reasonable concerns of the stakeholders. After the release of C-DOT’s solution architecture for STB interoperability,TRAI has received the concerns and views of the stakeholders. Keeping them in mind, TRAI now aims to launch a pilot project with an objective of development of a prototype of the interoperable STBs and compatible Smart cards. Stakeholders are encouraged to join the pilot.The workshop has been organized to discuss the feasibility of this pilot with the stakeholders. 

Objectives of the Pilot:

• Demonstrate that separation of STB & operator specific CAS functionality is possible in a secure manner.

• Frame out & test the specifications for interoperable STBs & SCs in real life conditions, and suggest improvements.

• Jointly develop a business model that fairly allocates value to each provider.

• Fine tune the architecture proposed by C-DOT and finalize the specifications based on pilot.

• Test out integrated and swapping of SCs with STBs in a fully secure manner. - Broadcast and CableSat Bureau