Telecom regulator TRAI has served a showcause notice to Airtel over the blackout faced by some of its DTH customers during the switchover to the new tariff regime, sources said. The showcause notice was issued by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) earlier this week, and Airtel has been given three days time to respond.
When contacted, an Airtel spokesperson said a few customers may have experienced delays in provisioning of channels, owing to a massive surge in last minute requests during migration, and that the service provider remains committed to ensuring compliance with all regulatory norms.
TRAI has unveiled the new tariff order and regulatory regime for the broadcast and cable sector, which would pave the way for consumers to opt for channels they wish to view and pay only for them. It had said every channel should be offered a la carte, with a transparent display of rates on electronic programme guide. The new framework came into effect from February 1.
In a statement, TRAI said it had “received information that while migrating consumers, one large service provider has caused a blackout on the TV screen of a few thousand subscribers”. Taking a serious view, the regulator has issued showcause notice to that service provider, TRAI statement said but neither identified the player nor divulged any details.
A TRAI official, however, confirmed that the operator in reference is Airtel and that in the said instance, certain customers who had made channel selection under the new framework, had faced disruption during the migration process and could only view the last channel they had chosen.
“So, TRAI issued showcause notice on why adequate measures were not taken, despite the regulator insisting that consumers should not face any inconvenience,” the TRAI official said.
Responding to an e-mailed query, an Airtel spokesperson said, “customer experience is of paramount importance to us. We have over 15 million customers who are being migrated to the new tariff regime. Due to a massive surge in last minute requests, particularly on January 31 and February 1, few customers may have experienced some delays in the provisioning of channels”.
“We remain fully committed to ensuring compliance with all Trai guidelines and will file our response to the notice,” the Airtel spokesperson added. Airtel’s DTH offerings had 15 million customers at the end of the December quarter, an increase of 7.6 percent over the corresponding quarter last year.―The Indian Express