The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India on Friday gave until January 31 the time for consumers to select the channels of their choice in the new framework for broadcast and cable services and said that all existing subscriber packages will continue uninterrupted until so.
TRAI, in March 2017, had notified the new regulatory framework for Broadcasting and Cable services and had notified it again on July 3, 2018, prescribing the implementation schedule. According to the implementation schedule, all service providers were to complete preparation for migration to the new framework by December 28, 2018, as the new framework will go into effect the following day.
In order to make it easier for all service providers to migrate their subscribers from the old framework to the new one without causing inconvenience, TRAI, after consulting with broadcasters, DTH operators and MSO (multiple system operators), has given them more time to research subscriber options for smooth, seamless migrations.
“All existing packages / plans / fix packs for subscribers will continue uninterrupted until January 31, 2019. No service provider will disconnect any signal or power to any MSO / LCO (local cable operator) / subscriber until January 2019 “TRAI said in a statement.
Distribution platform operators (DPOs) will design their own mechanism to reach all subscribers and seek options among subscribers, he said. DPOs must migrate all subscribers to a new framework effective February 1, 2019, he said.
To have a smooth implementation of the new regulatory framework that goes into effect on Saturday, TRAI held a series of meetings and consultations with all stakeholders, including Consumer Advocacy Groups (CAGs) during the last 4-6 weeks, the statement said. It was noted during those discussions that for consumers to become aware of the new framework and the process of searching for new TV channels among the 150 million subscribers, it would require some time and resources from service providers.
“Subsequently, the Authority (TRAI) also held meetings on December 19 and December 27 with various service providers in the broadcasting and cable services sector. The readiness for migration of all subscribers from old to new was also assessed. frame, “TRAI said.
The telecoms regulator said that the issue of smooth migration from the old regulatory framework to the new one was specifically discussed and it became known that, in general, most stakeholders are ready for the implementation of the new regulatory framework. TRAI said that DPOs must declare the Distributor’s Retail Price (DRP) and the Network Capacity Fee (NCF) by December 29.
The government had said Thursday that the new regulatory framework for television and cable services will provide “freedom of choice” and give consumers “direct control” over their monthly bill for television services.