Migration to New Trai Regime: Will Cable TV Subscribers Face Blackout After January 31?

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) charted out a new scheme for pricing the channels for DTH operators and cable operators and set a deadline of December 29 for transitioning to the new regime. However, keeping in mind the migration procedure of consumers and cable operators alike, the deadline was extended to January 31, till when subscribers have to select their channels and migrate to the new Trai tariff framework.


Consumers to Customise Their Own Subscriptions

The new Trai tariff regime is beneficial for the consumers as it gives more power to them to select only the channels which they want to watch, unlike it was the case earlier. Previously, subscribers were forced to buy additional channels by the DTH provider, now consumers will be in full control of their bills, and they will only pay for the channels which they want to watch. In line with that, DTH providers, Cable operators and MSOs (Multi System Operators) have started listing their individual channel prices and channel packs prices to make it easier for the subscribers to transition to the new regime.

Many subscribers have also been in a dilemma whether or not there will be blackout if they fail to select their channels till January 31, however, Trai has said that there will be no blackout if subscribers do not choose their channels by January 31 and they will be able to watch channels which they have subscribed previously. The transition to the new framework will be smooth, the regulator has said. Even then, there has been no detailed outcome on what the subscribers will face if they fail to select their channels by the January 31 deadline.

DTH and Cable Operators Come Out With Channel Packs and Prices

Under this new framework of channel pricing, Trai has set the base pack price at a maximum of Rs 130, inclusive of taxes this price will be Rs 154 for the consumers. As per the rules mandated by Trai, in the base pack subscribers will get 100 channels out of which each one will be of their choice. This means that subscribers will be able to remove or add up to 100 channels to their base pack without affecting their monthly bill.

DTH and cable operators, Airtel Digital TV, Dish TV, Siti Cable, DEN Networks and more have already released their channel pricing. These operators also provide channel packs to the subscribers, as such viewers will also be able to subscribe to these channel packs and they will be charged according to the package price and not the individual channel pricing.

All DTH providers like Airtel Digital TV, D2h, and cable operators like Hathway have listed their packs which contain different channels across many genres. There are channels with English movies, news, Hindi entertainment, regional entertainment, Sports and more. Similarly, Star India has listed its packs which include Telugu Value pack, Hindi HD Premium, and more. Times Network’s packs include Times Bouquet 1 HD, Times Bouquet 2 HD and more. Subscribers will have ample choices to buy such packs, and if not, they will be able to customise their channels according to their viewing habits.

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Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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