Operators can't charge TV viewers more than current monthly outgo during transition period: TRAI
The TRAI on Tuesday gave time till March 31 for consumers to opt for channels of their choice under the new framework for broadcasting and cable services.
Telecom regulator TRAI on Wednesday asserted that operators cannot charge TV viewers more than their usual monthly outgo under the 'best fit plan' to be offered during the transition period, and cautioned that the regulator will take action on any such complaint.
"TRAI has clearly asked distribution platform owners (DPOs) to ensure that for consumers, the monthly outgo under the best fit plan should not exceed the payout per month of existing plan of the subscriber," TRAI Secretary S K Gupta told PTI.
Gupta said the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is monitoring the situation and will take action on consumer complaints, if any, on the issue.
"TRAI has directed DPOs to give best fit plan to customers who have not exercised their option as of now, in order to protect their interest and ensure that they do not face any inconvenience," Gupta said.The TRAI on Tuesday gave time till March 31 for consumers to opt for channels of their choice under the new framework for broadcasting and cable services. It had said that the best fit plan should be designed based on consumers' usage pattern and language spoken.
The regulator had said that subscribers will be free to change their best fit plan at any date and time on or before March 31, 2019 and the DPO will convert their best fit plan into a desired pack (opted by the consumer) within 72 hours of subscribers making their channel preferences known.
The subscribers' old plan will continue till either subscribers make their channel preference clear, or is migrated to the 'best fit plan'.
There are about 100 million cable service TV homes and 67 million DTH TV homes in the country and approximately 65 per cent of the subscribers of the cable services and 35 per cent subscribers of the DTH services have already exercised the option of selecting the channels of their choice, according to the TRAI.
The authority has also clarified that there will be no 'lock-in period' till March 31 for the subscribers who have been migrated to 'best fit plan' by DPOs.
The regulator has unveiled the new tariff order and regulatory regime for the broadcast and cable sector, which paves the way for consumers to opt for channels they wish to view, and pay only for them. TRAI has said every channel should be offered a la carte, with a transparent display of rates on electronic programme guide.