He told DTH operators that their set top boxes (STB) should be technically inter-operable, which means that a consumer, if he wishes to change his service provider, can use the same equipment.
    
If the DTH service providers found it a difficult option, commercial interoperability should be ensured keeping in mind the interests of the consumers.
    
Commercial interoperability means that consumers can return their STBs to the service providers and with the money buy STBs from alternative operator of their choice.
    
Khullar was speaking at an open house discussion with DTH operators who are part of the process of framing recommendations related to issuing of new DTH licenses.
    
TRAI is framing new guidelines for obtaining licence for providing DTH broadcasting services in the country as the previous guidelines provided for issue of a licence for only 10 years with no provision for an extension or a renewal.
    
The I&B ministry had asked TRAI to frame the guidelines as the licenses of most DTH operators were on the verge of expiry.
    
At the meeting, TRAI asked DTH operators to give their views on the issues like entry fee and quantum thereof, period of extension of the DTH licence.
    
Industry representatives said the new licenses should be given for a period which is reasonably long. They said if an operator violated rules, the government had the power to cancel the license. Some of the representatives suggested providing licenses for a period of 20 years.
    
Khullar told DTH operators that once the new license regime for DTH comes into force, they would have the option to continue under the earlier terms and conditions till their license expires or can migrate to the new system.
    
Other issues like license fee, conditions that govern cross holdings etc. were also discussed. TRAI had earlier invited written comments from stakeholders after floating a consultation paper. Khullar told DTH operators that they could submit any additional points till Friday.

(Agencies)

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