TV services will not be affected, says TRAI on new broadcasting rules

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Wednesday clarified that customers will not face any disruption of their TV services due to implementation of its new regulatory framework for broadcasting and cable services.

The new framework, which comes into force from December 29, allows consumers to select and pay only for the channels they wish to view, and requires the TV broadcasters to disclose maximum retail price of channels individually as well as of bouquets.

“The Authority has noticed that there are messages circulating in the media that there may be a black-out of existing subscribed channels on TV screens after December 29. The Authority is seized of the matter and hereby advises that all Broadcasters/DPOs/LCOs will ensure that any channel that a consumer is watching today is not discontinued on 29.12.2018,” a TRAI statement said.

Migration plan

Keeping in view the interest of the subscribers and to enable a smooth transition, the Authority is preparing a detailed Migration Plan for all the existing subscribers.

TV services will not be affected, says TRAI on new broadcasting rules

“The migration plan will provide ample opportunity to each and every subscriber for making an informed choice. This will also enable service providers in carrying out the various activities as stipulated in the new regulatory framework in a time-bound manner,” it said.

The Authority maintained that the cost to consumers will not increase. “Further, if a consumer carefully chooses channels of his choice for complete requirement of a family, the amount payable by him may be even less than the present payments being made per month. Some of the probable packs in different markets have been compiled by TRAI.”

“Further some broadcasters with wider presence have reduced the price of their channels recently. The published prices as declared by broadcasters are offered prices and not the final market determined prices. The Authority expects the market forces to stabilise the prices soon based on economic principles,” it said.

The TRAI, in its FAQs on the new norms, has reasoned that after digitization of cable TV networks in March 2017, there was an urgent need to improve transparency as many stakeholders were not providing choice to consumers. It said the consumer becomes the real decision-maker now.

Additionally, the framework stipulates a network capacity fee with upper ceiling of ₹130 for 100 channels. Network capacity fee for 100 channels includes Free to Air channels or Pay channel or combination thereof. Taking FTA channels is the choice of subscriber but not mandatory except the mandatory channels of MIB. If Subscriber chooses pay channels, applicable MRP is payable in addition to the network capacity fee.

Any subscriber who opts for more than 100 channels — a rare choice of less than 10-15 % consumers, according to TRAI — can choose additional channels in each slab of 25 channels with at a maximum price of ₹20 per slab. The new framework stipulates that the subscribers will not be pushed with unwanted channels; rather she/ he will have freedom to choose only those TV channels that they want to see and pay accordingly, Trai said, adding that 80% subscriber as per the viewing pattern given by BARC, either view or flip 40 or less number of channels.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 8:04:14 AM |

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