New TRAI rules for DTH and cable customers (Representational Image)
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has mandated a new regulatory regime for the Direct-To-Home (DTH) and cable TV subscriber which will be implemented from February 1, 2019. The regulatory body has come up with a set of rules which includes prices of channels, freedom of choosing packages and plans and much more. These rules will be implemented on all operators including Airtel DTH, Tata Sky, DishTV, Hathway Cable, Siti Cable, Sun DTH and more. Currently, all the operators had a free run in offering channel packages because of which the customers were bound to choose the whole package for selecting one favourite channel.
From February 1, the customers will have complete freedom in choosing their favourite channel from the a la carte list which is expected to reduce the price of their monthly package eventually.
In order to ensure fair pricing of channels, the TRAI regulations also direct the broadcasters to keep the pricing of the packages and channels under check.
As per the TRAI’s regulations, the customers will have to pay a base price of Rs 130 plus taxes extra which will include 100 Free-To-Air channels. The service providers can charge more than Rs 130 for the base package and will offer multiple a la carte packs of different channel braodcasters including ZEE, Sony, TV18, Star and more.
However, DTH operators like Airtel DTH and Tata Sky are offering a base pack which starts from just Rs 99.
TRAI has also introduced a portal which list down all the price of all paid channels along packages of different broadcasters. No operator can charge more than the maximum retail price declared by TRAI.
The customers can also deselect any Free-To-Air channel and choose any other channel from a bucket of 535 FTA channels but the total number cannot cross 100 channels for the base pack.
In case, the customer has already paid for the annual or semi-annual plan, then the distributor are bound to provide the same services for the remaining period without any change in tariff plan. However, if the customer shift to any new package, the proportional balance amount of the existing pack will be adjusted in the new package.