New Delhi: Even months after coming out with a new regulatory framework for the direct-to-home (DTH) and cable television sector, subscribers are still struggling with operators who are not passing on the benefits to them.
Taking a tough stance, TRAI, the broadcasting sector regulator, has warned multi-system operators and cable operators of tough action if they create roadblocks for viewers who attempt to exercise their ‘right to choose’.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has also warned of strict action against cable TV and DTH players who are found violating its new tariff order and regulatory regime. The regulator has also promised to shortly begin an audit of subscriber management and other IT systems of errant operators.
Trai chairman R.S. Sharma has repeatedly stated that consumer choice and consumer interest are “non negotiable” and “cannot be compromised”. He has said that companies not adhering to rules will have to face the consequences.
Trai had recently introduced a tariff regime which tried to allow viewers to choose what channels they want to watch, instead of being forced to buy ‘packages’. This would result in viewers paying only for the channels that they want to watch.
Trai sources said that it was observed that the operators were misguiding consumers about the new tariff regime forcing the regulator to warn them.
The industry has also backed tough measures being proposed against errant DTH and cable operators.
In December last year, Trai had stated that the Broadcast Audience Resea-rch Council (BARC) had found that viewers in more than 90 per cent of TV homes view or browse 50 or fewer channels.
“Therefore, any analysis that keeps 250 or more channels for pricing of monthly tariffs create a false impression,” the regulator said....