TRAI’s new policy could make interoperability of DTH set-top boxes possible

Let’s say you are a Videocon D2H user but you have been wanting to shift to Tata Sky but the only reason that has been stopping you from doing so is the hassle and expense of buying a new set-top box. Relax! Soon you might be able to change your DTH operator without changing your set-top box.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is working towards making it possible for you. By the end of the year, interoperability of DTH operators might be a reality as stated by TRAI Chairman, RS Sharma in an interview. The move will help users to switch their DTH networks by simply loading new software on their existing set-top boxes.

Although the move may prove beneficial to customers who want to change their DTH operator, it may compromise the security of the set-top box. DTH companies feel that any kind of intervention with their set-top boxes could break their encryption and result in piracy of their content.

DTH companies have been against the Telecom regulator’s decision. However, TRAI feels that set-top boxes should not be sold with proprietary software and that set-top boxes should be software neutral. TRAI is hopeful that it will be possible for DTH companies to load their software on set-top boxes as and when any viewer decides to subscribe to their services.

Even if it would be a win-win situation for the consumers, DTH providers might not be very happy with the move. A lot of such companies might as well have to face a reduction in their customer base as many customers might want to change their DTH networks based on the quality of service and various offers. This is akin to mobile users changing their networks using mobile number portability.

“We are trying our level best to do it. It is a technical problem and, therefore, we have involved the government-entity Centre for Development of Telematics (CDoT) and other players into this exercise,” Times of India quoted TRAI’s chairman RS Sharma as saying. Sharma has also assured that the project would be completed within a year and the interoperability of DTH networks could begin as early as the end of 2019.

Now the question remains that how would TRAI address the issue of existing set-top boxes. New set-top boxes could be manufactured with the ability to post-load software but for the older company specific set-top boxes, it could come as a major challenge.

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