Some subscribers of DTH companies registered complaints online saying that their service provider was not allowing them full flexibility to change select channels and was urging them to add channels on top of the pre-selected channels. As obvious, the subscribers were being forced to pay more than what was required since they had not made the selection for these channels. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) took the matter into its own hands and tightened the noose around the operators against which the grievance was lodged. Trai also directed these operators to not add any channels to the subscribers’ selection apart from the 25 Doordarshan channels which are mandatory for all subscribers. For better resolution of grievances, the regulator has also asked the DTH operators to set up call centres.
Trai Tightens Noose on DTH Operators Regarding Base Pack Channels
Trai received complaints from consumers saying that they were not able to change their base packs and were not able to add channels to their FTA channel slots. The consumers were also not able to edit their base packs in some cases. Trai said about this issue, “The Authority has been informed that some service providers are pushing certain packages, not allowing choice within first 100 channels, providing certain FTA channels irrespective of consumer’s options etc. The Authority has taken note of such issues and has directed the distribution platform operators to follow the regulation in letter and spirit the consumer choice and paying only for what the consumer wishes to watch, is the power, the new framework gives to subscribers. The subscribers are free to choose Free to Air channels and/or pay channels either on a-la-carte or in the form of bouquet or any combination thereof, even within the first one hundred channels.”
Consumers Get Access to Trai Helpline and Email-ID
Trai has also put out a phone number and an email ID so that the consumers can report any erratic behaviour on the DTH operators’ part. In its statement, Trai added, “In case any DTH / Cable Operator is insisting on predefined pack or bouquets without providing real choices, subscribers may report the same at Trai call centre 0120 – 6898689 or e-mail at [email protected]”
As per the pricing mandate of Trai, the base pack will allow the subscribers to have 100 FTA channels on their subscription with only the NCF as the payable amount and no further content charges. However, some DTH providers have struck a deal with channel broadcasters and are pushing mandatory channels in this slot. Due to this, the consumers are not able to change the channel listings as per their choice.