Telecom regulator Trai is planning a consumer outreach programme, starting this month, to create user awareness on the nuances of its new tariff order and framework for the broadcasting sector, a senior official said to PTI. Trai’s move comes just days after the Supreme Court dismissed a plea challenging the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai’s) March 2017 regulations and tariff order relating to fixation of charges for free and pay channels.
“For consumers, we will have an outreach programme on the new broadcasting framework. We will explain the new regulations to the consumers, what are their rights and also resolve queries if any,” Trai Secretary S K Gupta told reporters of PTI. The modalities of the consumer outreach programme are currently being worked out, Gupta said adding that Delhi, Jaipur and other locations are being considered for the same.
Last week, the Supreme Court paved the way for the implementation of Trai’s new tariff order for the broadcast sector. Trai’s framework of July, allows consumers to select and pay only for the channels they wish to view and requires TV broadcasters to disclose maximum retail price (MRP) of channels individually and that of bouquets.
The order will provide offer consumers a choice, bring transparency and better service quality, Trai Chairman R S Sharma told reporters. The regulations are “consumer-friendly”, as they give people a choice to subscribe to channels they want to see, and not be unnecessarily thrust channels in the name of bouquets, he said.
Also, Free To Air channels by broadcasters will be free to air even for consumers. “Every channel’s maximum retail price (MRP) will be displayed individually in electronic programme guide so that people will be able to subscribe to individual channels also,” Sharma said.
The top court’s judgement, last week, came on a plea by Star India Private Limited challenging the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eighth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff Order, 2017 and the consequential Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017.
Among others, the Trai regulations said channels when given in bouquets should not be a mix of pay channels and free to air channels, and mandated that a bouquet should not contain any pay channel where the maximum retail price was more than Rs 19.