The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) extended to March 31 on Tuesday, the deadline for cable broadcasters and operators to migrate their consumers to the new regulatory framework.
The new regulatory framework for broadcasting and cable services came into effect on December 29, 2018, but in order to provide sufficient time for subscribers to exercise their options, the regulator granted time until January 31, 2019. All Distribution Platform Owners (DPOs) had to migrate subscribers according to their choice with effect from February 1, 2019. Now, the regulator has extended this period until March 31, 2019.
There are about 100 million cable television households and 67 million DTH television households, so far about 65 percent of cable service subscribers and 35 percent of DTH services have exercised options, Trai said in a statement, adding that the authority was notified that as the channel selection system was introduced for the first time in the country, some subscribers were facing difficulties in selecting the channels of their choice.
“In some cases, local cable operators (LCOs) have been unable to communicate with subscribers to raise awareness among them and gather options. Many subscribers may be required to go to the nearest point of sale (PoS) to exercise their option, as they did not have access to IT facilities or were not comfortable using the IT system to exercise their options. Recently, some cases have been reported in which the payment channels of subscribers who have not exercised the options have been deactivated. Such incidents are causing difficulties for subscribers, “Trai said.
On Monday, Trai met with all DTH operators and major Multiple System Operators (MSOs), who reported that the migration implementation was in full swing and that subscribers who have exercised their option have been migrated to a new framework.
Trai has asked all DPOs to create a “Best Fit Plan” for their subscribers who have not yet exercised their options. The plan will be designed based on consumer usage pattern, spoken language, and channel popularity. When designing the plan, DPOs should ensure that payment
per month, generally does not exceed the monthly payment of the subscriber’s existing rate plan.
“In view of the greater public interest, the authority directs all DPOs that subscribers who do not exercise their options be migrated to a” Best Fit Plan. “Subscribers’ previous plan will continue until the subscriber exercises their option, or is migrated to the “Best Fit Plan.” This authority extends the time until March 31, 2019 to exercise the option by subscribers who have not yet exercised the option, “said Trai.
He added that subscribers will have the freedom to change their “Best Fit Plan” at any date and time on or before July 31, 2019, and DPOs will convert their plan into the desired package (Channel / Bouquet) within 72 hours after the moment The election is exercised by the subscriber. There will be no lock-in period for subscribers until March 31, 2019, which has been migrated to the “Best Fit Plan” by OPDs, he added. –FAITH