The TRAI on March 3, 2017 had notified a new regulatory framework for Broadcasting and Cable services. However, the framework could not come into effect because of some pending litigation. Accordingly, all the timelines prescribed in the framework had commenced from July 3, 2018. The prescribed due date for migration to new framework was set as December 29, 2018.
In order to have a smooth implementation of the new regulatory framework, TRAI held a series of meetings and consultations with all the stakeholders including Consumers Advocacy Groups (CAG). It was appreciated that to make the consumers aware about the new framework and the process of seeking fresh choice of TV channels from about 150 million subscribers would require some time and resources of the service providers.
Subsequently, the Authority also held meetings on December 19, 2018 and December 27, 2018 with various service providers of the broadcasting and cable services sector. The preparedness for migration of all subscribers from old to new framework was also assessed.
The issue of smooth migration from the old to new regulatory framework was specifically discussed and deliberated upon. It emerged from the discussions that by and large, most of the stakeholders were ready for implementation of new regulatory framework.
To facilitate all the service providers to migrate their subscribers from old to new framework so that no inconvenience is caused to the subscribers, the Authority then issued a schedule of activities containing inter-alia as under: All existing packs/plans/bouquets to the subscribers would continue uninterrupted till January 31, 2019; No service provider be allowed to disconnect any signal/feed to any MSO/ LCO/ subscriber till January 31, 2019; DPOs to devise their own mechanism to reach out to all the subscribers and seek options from subscribers; DPOs to migrate all the subscribers to new framework w.e.f. February 1, 2019 as per options exercised by them.
The Authority emphasized that all the provisions of the Interconnection Regulations 2017, the QoS Regulations 2017 and the Tariff Order 2017 are in force and the regulatory provisions contained therein may be strictly complied with while implementing the prescribed schedule of activities.