TRAI chief reasserts smooth transition to new broadcast regime

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has been leaving no stone unturned to make a seamless switch to the new broadcasting regime. Earlier the TRAI had even asked the DTH operators to honour pre-paid commitment on ongoing long-duration packs, if customer wishes to continue with them.

Now chairman RS Sharma, who has been monitoring the transition closely, claims that nine crore of the 17 crore television homes in India have migrated to the new tariff regime. This figure of nine crore included 6.5 crore cable TV homes and 2.5 crore DTH homes.

“The speed [of onboarding] has increased as per our data and we expect the rest of the people to also register their choice of channels soon,” he told news agency Press Trust of India.

With DTH operating on a prepaid model, Sharma pointed out that consumers with long and short duration packs will soon opt for their new channel preferences. “We are guiding and helping the operators wherever required and are calling regular meetings to clarify matters,” Sharma said.

The regulator intends to ramp up its consumer outreach and awareness programmes to further increase the speed of the transition.

“TRAI will take up a massive campaign on consumer awareness, through social media, print, advertisements, jingles and other programs,” he added.

The regulator had earlier this month asked distribution platform operators (DPOs) to respond on special schemes for TV households with multiple connections.

TRAI said that operators should permit individual set top boxes (STBs), even within the same home, to have separate choice of channels, should the consumer wish so.

As per the new norms, DPOs can provide discounts, and even forgo the network capacity fee (NCF) of Rs130 for subsequent connections in the same household, provided these discounts are offered in a uniform manner in a region and clearly stated on the website.

Sharma said that three operators have already reverted on the special schemes and plans for TV households with multiple connections. TRAI, however, is unlikely intervene into the matter for now.

The new framework that came into effect from 1 February has been a matter of heated debate in the cable and broadcast circles.

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