Now you can have a separate tailor-made package of TV channels, without paying extra, thanks to the new order by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
However, post the release of the date of implementation (July 3, 2018) of the order, subscribers were clouded in confusion around reports of a total black-out of their existing channels. Clarifying the reports, the regulatory authority on December 26 assured subscribers that the new order would not cause any disruption or ‘black-out’ to the existing channels.
As per the reports, TV services of existing subscribed channels were to black-out on December 29.
“The Authority is seized of the matter and hereby advises that all Broadcasters/DPOs (distribution platform operators)/LCOs (local cable operators), will ensure that any channel that a consumer is watching today is not discontinued on December 29,” said TRAI in an official statement.
According to the new order, all the subscribed channels will be provided to the customers at a lower cost. This will allow customers to choose which channels they want to watch and pay accordingly for those!
As opposed to the earlier practice, where the distribution platform operators (DPOs) and broadcasters, such a DTH and cable operators, would include a list of channels ‘free of cost’, without having to give a detailed rate sheet. The new order calls for more transparency.
Hence, broadcasters will no longer be allowed to put together ‘free channels’ with the paid channels, or include high definition (HD) channels with the standard definition (SD) channels.
Instead, now they will have to publish channel rates, and are allowed to charge a maximum of Rs 19 per channel, monthly, in a package of channels.
Owing to this, under the new order, the customers will have to pay a minimum of Rs 130 each month to access 100 free-to-air standard definition channels (SD), which will include 24 mandatory channels from Prasar Bharti.
Also, after an additional payment of Rs 20, they will be able to access 25 more SD channels, said a report by The Logical Indian.
In the current system, although customers were provided with an overwhelming number of channels, many would end up paying for the channels they do not even watch, and this order aims to remedy that flaw!
The order also mandates for each channel to display its rate or MRP on the TV screen, using an electronic programme guide.
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As a breather, distributors and broadcasters are allowed to offer channel bouquets, provided that all of it is done transparently with all the rates displayed on the TV screens.
“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. The migration plan will provide ample opportunity to each subscriber for making an informed choice,” added TRAI.
As per the implantation schedule, TRAI has notified all the service providers to complete the preparation for migration to the new framework by December 28, reported TOI.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)
Photo Source: Representational