DTH Subscribers Are Saving Money With TRAI’s New Rules, Says I&B Ministry

DTH Subscribers Are Saving Money With TRAI’s New Rules, Says I&B Ministry

Subscribers had to choose only those channels that they wished to watch after new rules came into place

DTH subscribers in India are said to be saving between 10 to 15 percent of their money on subscription costs in metro cities, thanks to the new TRAI framework. Figures provided by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in the Monsoon session of the newly elected Lok Sabha claim that TV viewers across the country have benefited from the new regulatory framework that was first notified by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in March 2017. The framework was later re-notified along with an implementation schedule in July last year.

The ministry has further said that not just metro-residents but even non-metro subscribers are saving somewhere between 5 to 10 percent. The information was presented in the Lok Sabha by the ministry in response to a question asked by M. K. Raghavan, a member of the House of the People, regarding the effect of the new framework on subscribers. “As reported by TRAI, the analysis of preliminary data of few large DPOs reflects actual savings by subscribers to the tune of 10 to 15% in Metro cities and between 5 to 10% in Non – Metro areas after implementation of new regulatory framework,” the ministry responded.

However, it was also informed to the house that “a few cases” have been reported wherein a household witnessed “marginal increase” in prices owing to having more than one TV connection.

The notification of the framework, which was first issued in 2017, gained traction only after getting re-notified in July 2018. The DTH operators were asked to complete the preparation for migration to new framework by December 28, 2018. According to the new rules, DTH customers had to choose and pay for only those TV channels that they wished to watch and not for a whole package prepared by the DTH operator. TRAI in February extended the deadline for customers to select their new DTH plans under the framework to March 31, 2019.

In February, there were reports of consumers having to pay more than what they had to pay earlier for the TV channels. “The network capacity fee (NCF) and channel prices announced by broadcasters and distributors as per the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)’s new guidelines could increase the monthly bill of most subscribers of television channels,” the research report said. TRAI was quick in rubbishing such claims as the chairman R. S. Sharma said that the report was prepared on an “inadequate understanding” of the TV distribution market.

The ministry also said in its response that the TRAI has taken several steps to ease consumer concerns. These include provision of consumer corner on service providers’ websites, Consumer Care Channel on TV at Channel No. 999, a call centre established by TRAI, etc.

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