In today’s digital broadcasting scenario where substantial digitalization has been achieved, the basic QoS provisions and performance parameters are largely similar across the television distribution platforms. Subscription of services, complaint redressal and even the consumption of services have become platform agnostic, in digital environment, consumer awareness about the service offerings, ease in subscription, service management and redressal of consumer complaints by the service providers in a time bound manner are vital areas of concern to ensure good quality of service to consumers.
With a view to harmonize existing QoS provisions and also to formulate unified regulations for all digital addressable systems viz. Cable TV, DTH, HITS and IPTV, a consultation paper on Issues related to Quality of Services in Digital Addressable Systems and Consumer Protection was issued on May 18, 2016, inviting comments from the stakeholders.
An Open House Discussion in the subject matter was also organized on July 28, 2016 as a part of the consultation process. Comments of the stakeholders were taken in to consideration while formulating the draft.
The Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection (Digital Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2016.
Salient features of the draft regulations:
- Common framework for standard of QoS and consumer protection across digital addressable platforms, viz., DTH, cable TV, IPTV, and HITS.
- Choice of subscription to a-la-carte channels and bouquets of channels by subscribers has been simplified.
- Simplification of consumer premises equipment/set-top box schemes.
- Publicity of services using a designated link on the website of the distribution platform operators called Consumer Corner.
- Conducting of public awareness campaign, using consumer educational channels by the service providers.
- Simplification of consumer application form (CAF) and encouraging use of electronic CAF.
- Subscribers can get services temporarily suspended for up to three months in a year.
- Mandatory provision to record the consent of the subscribers for any change in the subscribed packages.
- Protection of consumer interest in case of prolonged and continued disruption in service beyond 72 hours.