New TRAI Tariff Hits TV Viewers In Odisha

Cable TV and DTH subscribers in the city are a harried lot with their chosen packages costing much in the new tariff regime of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

The TRAI’s new tariff order, implemented earlier this year, was supposed to reduce the amount spent on TV channels and benefit viewers. But the consumers are experiencing the reverse.

The basic pack of 100 channels is mandatory and with GST, it costs Rs 156 per month and contains maximum free and unpopular channels. With the addition of favourite channels or packs, the price keeps on rising.

Popular digital cable TV service providers, including SITI, Ortel, SATCO and others, are also facing similar problems in the transition to the new regime.

Consider the instance of SITI Networks Limited, formerly SITI Cable Network Limited. Earlier, the SITI cable used to offer 344 channels, including almost all popular Hindi entertainment channels, 18 paid and free Hindi movie, eight English movie, four infotainment, eight sports, above a dozen of paid and free Hindi news, four to five paid English news along with paid and free regional channels in Odia, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil and other languages.

For all these, a SITI cable subscriber was paying monthly Rs 200. Now, the basic pack of 100 channels costing Rs 156 per month involves majority of free Hindi news channels, while paid news channel Aajtak is nominally priced for Rs 0.75 paise.

From SITI’s basic pack bouquet, all paid Hindi entertainment channels, infotainment, sports, English and Hindi movie are gone. In the regional channel categories, all popular channels have been removed and mostly free or channels of very nominal values are included.

Tarun Kushal, a local franchise of Ortel Digital TV, said previously for Rs 220, his subscribers were getting popular channels of their liking, but for similar channels they have to pay now nearly Rs 300 and he is losing out on business.

Social activist and general secretary of UDBHAV, a forum for integrated development and mass awareness, VP Tiwari said before the new TRAI pricing policy, he used to pay about Rs 650 per month for Tata Sky service which has now gone up to about Rs 800.

The TRAI should review its decision after through survey and ease the unnecessary financial burden imposed on consumers, he demanded.

Another subscriber of Airtel DTH service Kaleswar Chaudhary said for Star pack and only Pogo channel added to basic pack, he now pays Rs 215 per month.―New Indian Express

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