DTH tariff order will protect consumer interest: Trai chairman

Implementation of the new tariff order in the broadcast and cable services sector will bring in transparency and allow consumers to pick and choose, thereby also ushering in better programming at competitive prices, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has said.

The order, which takes effect from 29 December, will enable consumers to make informed choices and pay only for the channels that they want to watch, Trai chairman R S Sgharma said.
“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.
Refering to reports that ‘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 that projections of higher tariffs under the new tariff regime are only intended to hoodwink the consumer who has so far been forced to pay for channels he never used.
“Our assertion is that overall prices will come down, which will be beneficial for consumers,” Sharma said.
Besides, 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.