Unused set-top boxes could be worth $750 mn: TRAI

Unused set-top boxes could be worth $750 mn: TRAI

New Delhi: Up to 30 million Set Top Boxes (STBs) of Direct to Home (DTH) operators worth nearly 750 million US Dollars may be lying unused in India mainly because of non-interoperability, broadcasting sector regulator TRAI has said.
In a pre-consultation paper issued by it, TRAI has said the financial implications of non-interoperability of STBs are huge as in addition to DTH, numerous Cable TV STBs too are lying unused.
As it aims to push for interoperability of STBs, the TRAI paper said since the inactive Set Top Boxes cannot be used for reception of services of other operators, the money invested goes waste and it also results in creation of e-waste.
Currently, the Set Top Box of a particular operator cannot be used by a consumer to receive signals of another operator.
In such a scenario, every time a subscriber wants to change an operator he has to buy a new STB.
“The commercial implications of non-interoperability of STBs are huge,” TRAI said in the paper, adding that as per the report submitted by DTH Operators to it in December 2015, around 85 million STBs have been either sold or provided to the subscriber out which only around 55 million are in active mode.
“This indicates that around 30 million STBs are lying idle or unused, mainly because of non-interoperability of STBs,” the TRAI said.
“Considering an initial capital expenditure around $25 per STB, a total of $750 million capital is lying unused,” the broadcasting sector regulator has said.
It added that exact data in respect of Cable TV services are not available but it is anticipated that the numbers of inactive STBs there too is very large.

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