NEWS
28/12/2018 6:28 PM IST

Pay Only For What You Watch On TV: TRAI's New Regulatory Framework

TRAI has given time till 31 January for consumers to opt for channels of their choice.

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Telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has given time till 31 January for consumers to opt for channels of their choice under the new framework for broadcasting and cable services and said all existing packs of subscribers will continue uninterrupted till then.

The new framework allows consumers to select and pay only for the channels they wish to view.

According to The News Nation, the new order will come into effect from 29 December and the consumers will have to pay Rs 130 for 100 free-to-air (FTA) channels as their base pack. With the base pack, consumers can select different channels for each month, the report added.

TRAI, in March, 2017, had notified the new regulatory framework for Broadcasting and Cable services and re-notified it on 3 July, 2018, prescribing the implementation schedule.

According to the implementation schedule, all the service providers were required to complete the preparation for migration to new framework by 28 December, 2018, as the new framework will come into force the next day.

In order to facilitate all service providers to migrate their subscribers from old to new framework without causing inconvenience, TRAI, after consultations with broadcasters, DTH operators, and MSOs (multi-system operators), has given them more time to seek options from subscribers for smooth and interruption-free migrations.

What is the new framework?

The new framework allows consumers to choose and pay only for the channels they wish to watch, and requires TV broadcasters to disclose the maximum retail price (MRP) of each channel and that of bouquets.

Till now, broadcasters and distribution platform operators (DPOs) such as cable and DTH players used to offer a lump sum number of channels for a fee, according to The Economic Times.

However, the broadcasters will have to offer all the channels on a-la-carte basis at their MRP under the new framework, the report added.

According to Deccan Herald, TRAI has said that it wants to bring about transparency by separating the ‘network capacity fee’ and pay-channel fee. The telecom regulator said that it has noticed that no subscriber watches more than 50 channels, the report added.

A few broadcasters had earlier raised concerns that with the new norms, there will be a drop in the subscription of unpopular channels, according to The New Indian Express. Distribution platform operators, on the other hand, fear it will impact their earnings, the report added.

The government had said on Thursday that the new regulatory framework for broadcasting and cable services will provide “freedom of choice” and give consumers “direct control” on their monthly bill for television services.

(With PTI inputs)