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TRAI tightens the loose ends of DTH Operators : A la carte Channels Defined

According to the TRAI note, the maximum retail price (MRP) of a channel on a-la-carte can be viewed in the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) or Menu of their TV screens. “Distribution Platform Operator (DPO) such as cable operators, DTH operators may provide discount on the MRP displayed on the EPG,” TRAI said.
Following this order, all major DTH operators have announced individual pricing of all their TV channels. Consumers can pick any channel they want and pay accordingly. Both Tata Sky and Airtel’s base packs starts from Rs 99 per month. The MRP of each channel has been announced on the service provider’s website as well as on the TV screen’s menu.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a new statement clarifying that consumers will have full choice on the SD (standard definition) channels they can get as part of its new rules and regulations for DTH and cable operators.
TRAI in a new press release on January 10 said that customers have complete freedom to choose the 100 free channels (SD resolution), which will be offered in the base pack of Rs 130 (exclusive of taxes).
“Consumer has complete freedom to choose their desired 100 SD channels within the network capacity fee of maximum Rs 130. The desired channels could be in a-Ia-carte free to air channels or Pay channels or bouquet of pay channels or any combination thereof. The choice completely rests with the consumers,” The TRAI release said.
With January 31 being the last date to subscribe pre-tariff order packs TRAI has asked consumers to exercise their options well before this period to continue to view their favourite channels. “Subscribers are also advised not to wait for the last minute to avoid any inconvenience,” TRAI notification said.
After that date, the existing packs and prices are set to lapse. Further the consumers who have not migrated to the new packs are likely to face interruption.
Individual pricing shoots above Rs 20 for premium channels like Zee Cinema, Sony, Star Plus, Sony Ten and Star Sports. There are a host of free-to-air channels as well, like DD, 9XM, B4U Music, etc.
Besides individual pricing of TV channels, DTH players are also offering bouquets with multiple channels.
Every cable operator or DTH player has been asked to run a consumer information channel preferably on channel No. 999 wherein consumer-related information including the prices of channels shall be displayed.
“Now it has been noticed that several broadcasters are advertising their channels in the form of bouquets only. However customer may note that they have the option to choose channels a la carte also,” TRAI said.
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