TRAI has given time till March 31 for consumers to opt for channels of their choice under the new framework for broadcasting and cable services, the telecom regulator said Tuesday.
In a statement, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said it has also asked all distribution platform operators (DPOs) to create 'best fit plan' for its subscribers who have not exercised their options yet. The 'best fit plan' shall be designed based on consumers' usage pattern, language spoken and popularity of channels, TRAI said.
"The Authority extends time up to March 31, 2019 for exercising the option (of selecting channels) by such subscribers who have not exercised option yet. Subscribers will be free to change their 'best fit plan' at any date and time on or before March 31, 2019 and DPOs shall convert their 'best fit plan' into the desired (channels) pack within 72 hours from the time choice exercised," the statement said.
There are about 100 million cable service TV homes and 67 million DTH TV homes in the country and approximately 65 per cent of the subscribers of the cable services and 35 per cent subscribers of the DTH services have already exercised the option of selecting the channels of their choice, it said.
The TRAI said though the new framework promotes consumer choice and enables the subscribers to pay for what they wish to view but "non-exercise of the option" should not create any inconvenience to the subscribers.
It said that in view of the larger public interest, all DPOs have been directed that those subscribers who do not exercise their options shall be migrated to a 'best fit plan'. The subscribers' old plan shall continue till either the subscriber exercises his/her option, or he/she is migrated to the 'best fit plan', TRAI said.
It also clarified that there will be no 'lock-in period' till March 31 for the subscribers who have been migrated to 'best fit plan' by DPOs. The TRAI, in March, 2017, had notified the new regulatory framework for Broadcasting and Cable services and re-notified it on July 3, 2018, prescribing the implementation schedule.
DPOs should ensure that payout per month of the 'best fit plan' generally does not exceed the payout per month of existing tariff plan of the subscriber, TRAI said. The new framework came into affect on December 29, but TRAI had given time till January 31 for consumers to opt for channels of their choice under the new framework.
To assess to status of implementation of new framework, a meeting of all DTH operators and major Multi system Operators (MSO) was convened in the TRAI office on on Monday. The operators informed that the implementation of migration was in full swing and the subscribers who have exercised their option have been migrated to new framework, the statement said.