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Trai Dismisses Rumours About Postponement of New Cable TV Tariff Implementation
Telecom Talk, January 09, 2019

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has refuted claims that the deadline for transitioning to the new Trai mandated tariff scheme has been pushed beyond its set date. Dismissing the rumours that were spreading about the postponement of timeline for migration to new tariff regime till February 1, Trai said that consumers should not delay the transition to the new tariff regime and they should begin the process at the earliest. The regulator said in its statement, “It has been brought to the notice of the Authority that certain rumours and messages are being floated that the implementation of the new framework has been postponed or stopped or is being modified.”

No Modification to Existing Schedule for Migration

A video of a member of Parliament was found being circulated in which the minister was addressing a meeting of cable operator where he said that the deadline for the introduction of the new tariff regime had been pushed beyond June 2019, after the general elections. However, Trai dismissed these statements and said that there is no basis to these delays and there has also been no postponement. Trai reinforced that the new tariff regime came into effect on December 29 as DTH and cable operators published their pricing and plans.

As per an Ultra news report, Trai in its statement said, “The schedule of activities has been duly communicated to all the service providers for reaching out to the consumers and obtaining choices. Trai is conducting review meetings regularly to monitor the progress. All the service providers are again advised to strictly observe the timelines as provided in the migration plan dated December 28, 2018.” The regulator, again and again, asserted that the consumers should not wait for the last minute to migrate to the new tariff regime and they should inform their operator about the channel selection at the earliest to ensure no hassle during the last minute.

Trai also said that it is continuously monitoring the progress of the migration based on “availability of consumer corner, choices to the consumers, provision of consumer care channel, the percentage of consumers whose choice has been obtained etc. on day to day basis.”

LCOs Rally Against New Mandate

It is worth noting that even though almost all cable operators and DTH providers have listed their new packs and pricing, they are not eager to entertain the requests of the consumers to migrate to new plans and channel packs. There is also the resistance from the LCOs (Local Cable Operators) who are of the opinion that the new tariff regime will lower their earnings. Up until now, LCOs used to keep 50% of the monthly subscription charge paid by the subscribers. The rumours of postponement of the new tariff implementation have been due to the same reluctance from the LCOs as well.

Trai, on the other hand, has maintained its position on the issue saying that instead of weakening their position on the field, the new tariff regime empowers the LCOs. The regulator is also fighting another separate case in the court against the judgement ruled by the Madras High Court which granted more power to the broadcasters thus rendering a lot of the new significant changes in the tariff rules futile. In the same time, broadcasters, cable operators and DTH providers have published new packs, channel prices and more which will be effective starting February 1.

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