‘Broadcast tariff order tuned to protect consumer interest’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 18, 2018

RS Sharma, Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)

TRAI sends a stern signal to those spreading canards

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Tuesday reiterated that implementation of the new tariff order in the broadcast and cable services sector will bring in transparency and usher in better programming at competitive prices for consumers. The order takes effect from December 29,

The order will enable consumers to make informed choices and pay only for the channels that they want to watch. “It has come to our knowledge that certain stakeholders are spreading misinformation with ulterior motives to create fears in the minds of consumers regarding the implementation of the new regulatory framework, which are unfounded,” TRAI Chairman RS Sharma told mediapersons.

“We are working to ensure a smooth transition to the new regulatory framework without any disruptions,” he added.

‘DTH bill won’t go up’

He said the new framework has been validated by the highest court of the land and it is a comprehensive code that balances the interests of both service providers and consumers.

TRAI said it is being wrongly portrayed that consumers will need to pay higher cable or DTH bills under the new scheme of things.

Sharma said, “Our assertion is that overall prices will come down, which will be beneficial for consumers.”

He said the new regulatory framework provides for complete transparency on pay-channel pricing structure.

Besides the new tariff order, the regulatory framework includes interconnection regulations and quality of service norms for the broadcast sector.

In a statement, TRAI said that as per Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) estimates, more than 90 per cent of TV homes view or flip 50 or fewer number of channels. “Therefore, any analysis that keeps 250 or more channels for pricing of monthly tariff creates a false impression. If consumer chooses the channel which she/he really watches, then she/he will be paying a lesser amount compared to what he/she is paying as of now,” TRAI added.

It added that channels that are provided on free-to-air basis by broadcasters cannot be priced by the DTH service provider or cable operators. TRAI has put up the MRP of channels being offered by broadcasters on its website.

Published on December 18, 2018

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