Mumbai: Cable operators have alleged that unregistered local players are illegally taking unencrypted feed from DD Free Dish. Over the last few years there have been increasing discussions on the growing popularity of DD Free Dish, a free-to-air service being provided by Prasar Bharati. While consumers continue to enjoy the FTA service, cable operators are disturbed by the fact that DD Free Dish is providing unencrypted channels, which is "promoting piracy”.
According to big cable operators, Prasar Bharati, which is selling DD Free Dish slots to broadcasters at huge prices, is allegedly not complying with TRAI’s Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017 (Quality of Service Regulations) which makes it mandatory to provide encrypted channels.
The AIDCF recently moved the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) against DD Free Dish for allegedly not abiding by TRAI’s regulation that requires the channels to be provided in an encrypted manner. TDSAT has issued notice to Prasar Bharati and other respondents in the matter which will now be heard next month.
Industry experts say while all the multiple system operators (MSOs) have implemented DAS in phase wise manner from 2012 to 2016, thereby helping in curbing piracy, DD Free Dish is still providing its signals in non-encrypted mode.
MSOs operate through their deployed cable network, wherein the consumer/subscriber is provided encrypted signals of television channels through a set-top box deployed at their premises. This, say experts, has also led to a non-level playing field for cable operators with DD Free Dish.