Trai Asks Customers to Choose Channels Under New Cable TV Regime by January 31

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Telecom regulator Trai has given time till January 31 for consumers to opt for channels of their choice under the new framework for broadcasting and cable services. "We had a meeting of broadcasters, DTH operators, and MSOs (multi-system operators) today (Thursday). Everyone confirmed their readiness to implement new regulations. However, they requested that some more time may be given to seek options from subscribers for smooth and interruption free migrations," Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) Secretary S K Gupta told PTI.

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Accordingly, distribution platform operators (DPOs) have been permitted to seek options from consumers till January 31 and customers will be migrated as per their choice from February 1, he added.

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

The telecom regulator had earlier asserted that the implementation of the new framework would lead to lower prices for TV viewers and slammed the "misinformation campaign" being carried out by some to fuel "hyperbolic fear" among consumers. Trai Chairman R S Sharma had earlier this month, said the regulator was working to ensure a smooth transition to the new framework without causing any disruption for consumers.

The Supreme Court had recently dismissed a plea challenging the Trai's March 2017 regulations and tariff order, relating to fixation of charges for free and pay channels.

Furthermore, a couple of days ago, Trai promised that customers would not face any issues during the transition. Furthermore, there won't be any blackout on channels which you're paid to watch now. Several analysts are predicting the new tariff regime will help the local players and the long-validity plans will be benefitted. At the moment, consumers are baffled as they are still wondering on what the new regime actually is. Trai is conducting various programmes to give an idea about the tariff regime that comes into place on December 29.

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