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DTH Firms Violating TRAI Norms Set To Face Action

Months after coming out with a new regulatory framework for DTH and Cable television sector,  common people are still struggling with operators who are not passing on the benefits to the consumers. Taking a tough stance, the TRAI, the broadcasting sector regulator, is contemplating strict action against several MSOs, cable operators for trying to create roadblocks for regarding viewers’ ‘Right to Choose’.

The TRAI has warned of strict action against those cable TV and DTH players who are found violating its new tariff order and regulatory regime. The regulator has also promised to shortly begin “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” and that companies not adhering to rules will have to face the consequences.

The TRAI has recently introduced a new tariff regime which recognised consumers’ ‘Right to Choose’. The tariff  regime tries to give viewers the choice to watch what they want on cable TV. The regime respects viewer discretion, enables consumers to make an informed choice and pay only for those channels which they want to watch.  However, it was observed that operators were misguiding consumers about the new tariff regime forcing strict action by TRAI, sources added.

The industry also backed the tough measures being proposed against errant DTH and cable operators.  “We live in a democratic country where the old adage, ‘Life is yours, Choice is yours’ applies without an iota of doubt to each and every aspect of our life. This includes the way we want to dress and what we want to watch,” industry expert, Vedank Singh said.

In December last year, the TRAI had in a statement going by the findings of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), more than 90 percent of TV homes view or browse 50 or fewer number of channels. Adding to this TRAI said, “Therefore, any analysis that keeps 250 or more channels for pricing of monthly tariffs create a false impression. If consumer chooses the channel which she/he really watches, then consumers will be paying a lesser amount compared to what they are paying as of now.”―Asian Age

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