New Delhi: Ahead of the looming 1 February deadline for the switchover to the new broadcasting regime — owing to which channels are desperately selling their ‘bouquets’ by means of advertisements these days on TV — telecom regulator TRAI has asked DTH operators to honour pre-paid commitment on ongoing long-duration packs, if customer wishes to continue.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman RS Sharma said that there is no change in the 1 February deadline for migration to the new tariff regime for broadcasting and cable services.

Sharma asserted he remains “confident” of a smooth switchover on the stipulated day without any inconvenience to customers.

Sharma made it clear that if a DTH customer with existing long-duration pack wishes to exercise his channel choice mid-way (opt for specific channels under the new regime), then the balance money in customer wallet should be adjusted by the operator accordingly.

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.

“TRAI has launched web portal! containing ‘Frequently Asked Questions’, rates of all the pay-TV channels on a-la-carte and the bouquets of pay channels offered by the broadcasters, etc. It has also launched a web portal! to help consumers to select the channels of their choice and estimate their monthly bill. (A) facility has also been provided to take a print out of the TV Channels selected or download the file so that the same can be sent to the TV Service Provider to facilitate exercising of the subscriber option. These online portals have received quite a positive feedback with more than 3.5 Crore hits, as on date,” reads the press release by the regulator.

Dealing with one of the common complaints, TRAI writes, “Authority has been receiving hundreds of complaints intimating that one of the DTH (Direct to home) service provider (sic) is not providing options to its subscribers to exercise their choices and providing misleading information in regard to implementation of (the) new framework. The Authority has taken up the matter. The said DTH operator has assured in writing that they will be complying with the new regulatory framework and will make the options available for obtaining the consumers choice. The Authority assures all the subscribers that all efforts are being made to ensure that there is no inconvenience or any disruption of TV services due to the migration to the new regulatory regime.”

The full press release: