The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has been on the task of refining the new regulatory regime after its implementation in the first half of the calendar year. To do this, the telecom regulator has been rolling out new consultation papers for discussion or either sending out new directions. All this refining of the new Trai tariff regime is being done so that the consumers get the best possible service in the DTH and broadcasting industry. Now, in a new move, Trai has sent out a direction to the Distribution Platform Operators (DPOs) asking them to enable the service wherein subscribers of DTH service should be able to change their channels via SMS. The regulator has also asked the DPOs to list out all the channels and their MRPs on the channel number 199 along with bouquets so that subscribers can access them with ease and decide which channels they want to add or remove and how much they would have to pay for it.
Trai Gives 15 Days to DPOs to Show Compliance
The sector watchdog has informed all the DPOs that within 15 days of the issue of this letter, the DPOs should list all the requested information on channel number 999 as prescribed by the Trai. Not only this, but the regulator has also noted that the facility of adding or dropping channels through SMS should also be provided to the subscribers within 15 days of the issue of this new direction. Trai also noted that the add or drop request on channels which the subscriber makes through the SMS after the enabling of this facility should be executed no later than 72 hours after the DPO receives the request. Also, the subscriber should be charged only for the period for which it has availed the services.
It is worth noting that the telecom regulator has issued the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Standards of Quality of Service and Subscriber Protection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017 (QoS Regulations, 2017). The DPOs have been asked to send a compliance report to the telecom regulator by the end of this month, specifically October 31, 2019.
Trai Shares Format for SMS Facility and Channel Information
Expanding on the reasoning behind putting this new direction, Trai said although a few DPOs are providing the service of adding and dropping channels through SMS, the same is not the case for all the platform operators. To bring uniformity and better services to the subscribers, it is important that all the DPOs offer this service to their customers, as will be the case after compliance with this direction. Trai also noted that there is a great variance in the information being displayed on the channel number 999. It also said that in a lot of cases, a lot of information is generally missing which could be crucial to the users. Hence, in its direction, Trai has asked the DPOs to follow the format put out by the authority so that no information is left out on channel number 999.
Trai also remarked that a template of information sharing for channel number 999 has already been shared with the DPOs in a letter dated September 20, 2019, where the comments were invited from the DPOs on these templates followed by a meeting on September 26, 2019. Just like Trai has finalised a format for sharing information on the channel number 999, after analysing the comments, the regulator will also finalise the format of the SMS based channel add or drop facility.