TRAI empowers DTH subscribers

  • Thread starter dishtvdth
  • Start date
  • Replies: Replies 10
  • Views: Views 4,221
D

dishtvdth

Regular
Messages
124
Location
NA
ISP
airtel
TRAI empowers DTH subscribers, says operators free to choose channels of choice
New Delhi - The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has announced new regulations that will allow the Direct To Home (DTH) subscribers to choose DTH operators of their choice as well as pay for only those channels they wish to watch instead of subscribing for a bouquet of channels as is the present case.
According to the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection (Fourth Amendment) Regulation 2007, from December 1, the DTH operators can decide on the channels that they want to air even within a bouquet that is offered by broadcasters.

In other words, the operators will be able to pick a bouquet of channels from the broadcasters as well as choose channels from the list on an individual (a-la-carte) basis.

The TRAI was forced to intervene after DTH operators complained that broadcasters were forcing them to carry channels that they did not want to.

"All broadcasters will compulsorily offer all their channels on a la carte basis to DTH operators. Additionally, they may also offer bouquets, but they will not compel any DTH operator to include the entire bouquet in any package being offered by DTH operators to their subscribers," the regulatory body said.

In an attempt to ensure that broadcasters do not overcharge for individual charges and also for bouquets, the TRAI has introduced a series of checks and measures though it has refused to specify a tariff cap for pay channels. According to the new norms, the sum-total rate of pay channels picked by the DTH operators will not exceed 1.5 times the rate of the entire bouquet. Additionally, individual costs of a pay channel in a bouquet can also not be more than three times the average pay channel rate of that bouquet.

Last year, the TRAI had placed a price cap at Rs. 5 per month on pay channels in all conditional access system (CAS) areas.

The TRAI has also mandated the broadcasters have to make public their "Reference Interconnect Offer" rates (RIO) containing the rates of channels and bouquets, details of discounts, payment terms, security and anti-piracy norms by March 1, 2008.

But the body has also allowed both parties to enter into mutual agreements on "non-discriminatory basis by deviating from the RIO."

The TRAI said it "will have the power to intervene and ask any broadcaster to modify" its published RIO on grounds of "protecting the interests of consumers, orderly growth of the sector, or for not being in conformity" with these regulations.

"If a DTH operator makes a request to a broadcaster to enter into an interconnection agreement based on the published RIO, then the broadcaster will be obliged to do so within 45 days of the request," the TRAI said.

However, if the broadcaster and the DTH operator fail to enter into an interconnection agreement after negotiations, then both of them may jointly request the TRAI to facilitate in arriving at an agreement, according to the new regulation.

This will be "without prejudice to the legal recourse" available to them at other courts of law, it said.

"One of the reasons for the delay in rolling out DTH services was the difficulty faced by the broadcasters and the DTH operators in concluding their interconnection agreements on time, and the issue in two such cases had to be resolved by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal," said the regulatory body, justifying its regulation.

"This not only affected the growth of the sector, it also hampered competition because DTH at present is the only effective alternative to cable TV," it said.

On the issue of regulating Carriage Fee, the regulatory body has left it open to be worked out by the market forces.

Till now, customers in areas covered by the CAS had the option of choosing the channels they want to watch and pay for those alone. The broadcasters were also mandated to sell their channels on an individual basis (not as part of a bouquet of channels) to cable operators in these areas.

However, the broadcasters were not providing this facility to DTH companies.

"This (unbundling) is a welcome step, both from the DTH operators' and the consumers' perspective," said A. Mohan, vice-president for legal and regulatory affairs at the Essel group, which owns all the Zee channels and the Dish TV network. "We will definitely pass on the benefits to our consumers who can now only pay for the channels they want to watch," he added.

The two firms currently offering fee-based DTH services, Tata Sky, a joint venture of the Tata group and News Corp., and Zee group's Dish TV, together serve around 3.2 million customers but have to take the entire bouquet of channels from broadcasters, and pass it on to customers. The state-owned Doordarshan offers an all-free DTH service, DD Direct. Three more - Reliance Blue Magic (of Reliance ADA group), Bharti Telemedia and Sun Network - are in the offing.

Both Tata Sky and Dish TV are presently reeling under huge losses as they compete with cable operators who service around 70 million households.

In a separate development, the TRAI has also come to the rescue of DTH subscribers, saying that the DTH operators cannot disable the set-top boxes of the subscribers who want to discontinue the DTH service.

The new regulation called 'Quality of Service and Redressal of Grievances Regulation, 2007,' which will come into force from December 1, aim to protect the DTH subscribers' welfare against the cable operators that charges their clients on the behalf of several schemes and plans without giving them prior information.

The new regulation also prohibits changing the running scheme frequently. The operators will have to continue the scheme for at least six-month periods and also have to inform their customers well before making changes, including increasing subscription charges. However, the operators are at liberty to reduce the subscription charges at any time.

The TRAI has also empowered the subscribers with the right to opt out of a particular package for any other package at any time.

According to the new regulation, the DTH operators cannot force the subscriber to choose the package against their wish and operators will have to provide the packages what customers want. The TRAI has also made clear that subscribers are free to discontinue the service and the operators will have to refunds money for DTH equipment that they ask at the time of installation on security basis and the cost of equipment.

The DTH operators will now have to allow the subscribers to choose the DTH equipments on the rent basis instead of only lump-sump charges, the TRAI said.

The DTH operators also cannot force the new subscribers to repurchase the DTH equipment if the subscriber already owns one, no matter of which company. Presently, the subscribers have to pay between Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 4,000 for the DTH hardware pack which includes the set-top box and the satellite dish antenna.

The new regulation also gives subscribers the option to use the device to access "Free to Air" channels, irrespective of which pay channel or bouquet they are subscribing.

DTH operators will also be debarred from disabling the set top box if a subscriber delays payment or chooses to terminate the service. "This will enable the DTH subscriber to use the box to receive other free-to-air channels," the TRAI said.

However, the disabling clause is not applicable in cases where arrears are pending against a subscriber, the regulatory body said.

The TRAI has also strictly instructed the DTH operators to establish toll free call centers with sufficient capacity to handle the load of the calls from their customers and to solve all the problems of the clients within five days of complaining and all billing complaints within seven days. Each request or complaint to a call center has to be assigned a docket number and 90 percent of complaints on non-receipt of signals will have to be redressed within 24 hours, it said.

According to market observers, the new regulation also gives the subscribers full authority to move on to rival service providers if they provide better services at lower costs.
 
V

vln_arun

Regulars
Messages
1,261
Location
NA
ISP
BSNL
good news for all the consumers irrespective of the operators...:thumbsup:
 
R

rameshk74

Newbie
Messages
90
Location
NA
ISP
BSNL
Can some one tell me how does this benefit me as a Dish TV customer?
 
G

gregory house

philosopher-in-chief
Messages
1,857
Location
NA
ISP
Reliance Dialup
Consumers cannot choose individual channels. Only the DTH operator can do so and that too from the broadcaster. The only thing favouring consumers here is the QoS guidelines - renting out of STBs, calls to be toll free - that kind of thing.Don't be under any false impressions. Some things will change for the better. But we will still have to go for entire bouquets as decided by the DTH operator, till TRAI does something about it - in the distant future.
 
raddy

raddy

Regular
Messages
383
Location
Coimbatore
ISP
Reliance JioFiber
@ gregory house

As i read in the first post,
TRAI forced DTH operators to use existing equipment the customer has,
How does it will work.
We certainly can't use our Tata Sky or Dish TV STBs to receive SUN DTH or Reliance Big TV transmission.

How will they sort out this technical incompatibility to comply with TRAI rules.

Consumers cannot choose individual channels. Only the DTH operator can do so and that too from the broadcaster. The only thing favouring consumers here is the QoS guidelines - renting out of STBs, calls to be toll free - that kind of thing.

Don't be under any false impressions. Some things will change for the better. But we will still have to go for entire bouquets as decided by the DTH operator, till TRAI does something about it - in the distant future.
 
G

gregory house

philosopher-in-chief
Messages
1,857
Location
NA
ISP
Reliance Dialup
This will change post December 1 as long as these idiots don't run to TDSAT. What TRAI has proposed and will enforce is this -
1. If you want a fresh connection and don't have a STB, you can get it on rent/ hire-purchase/ outright purchase from the DTH provider. Currently you have no alternative other than to pay 3,000-4,000 and buy the STB.
2. If you switch operators, and you already own a STB, the operator cannot force you to buy or rent a new box. You might not receive all the services (I believe the active services operate some what differently on each platform), but as far as basic services go (channels for example), there should be no problem.
3. You will be able to watch FTA channels even if you discontinue your service after having cleared all your dues.

Considering all this, the DTH providers will have to begin unlocking the STB. Most boxes are locked via software to prevent them from tuning to other satellites which provide FTA channels on Ku band.
 


A

armaanyounis

Regular
Messages
139
Location
NA
ISP
Tata Indicom 256kbps unlimited
This will change post December 1 as long as these idiots don't run to TDSAT. What TRAI has proposed and will enforce is this -
1. If you want a fresh connection and don't have a STB, you can get it on rent/ hire-purchase/ outright purchase from the DTH provider. Currently you have no alternative other than to pay 3,000-4,000 and buy the STB.
2. If you switch operators, and you already own a STB, the operator cannot force you to buy or rent a new box. You might not receive all the services (I believe the active services operate some what differently on each platform), but as far as basic services go (channels for example), there should be no problem.
3. You will be able to watch FTA channels even if you discontinue your service after having cleared all your dues.

Considering all this, the DTH providers will have to begin unlocking the STB. Most boxes are locked via software to prevent them from tuning to other satellites which provide FTA channels on Ku band.


suppose you are using Dish TV set top box and in future you switch to Tata Sky by keeping your present set top box. And you have got complains regarding the channel receptions, language selection, EPG, etc etc... then the DTH operator will blame the old set top box, eventually in the end you need to buy a new set top box.

The technician will say "Sir, aap ke set top box mein problem hai, aap ko naya khareedna padega"
Customer "But i can get a new one by exchanging my present set top box?"
Technician "Sir, as i said aap ke set top box mein problem hai so we cannot exchange a damaged set top box for a new one. You need to buy the new one for Rs.3000 + installation charges extra"
Customer "These people again made the subscribers a C******...."
hahahaha
 
Sushubh

Sushubh

Admin
Staff member
Messages
394,564
Location
Gurgaon
ISP
Excitel
Airtel
i guess from december u would have the option to return the equipment and get a refund.
 
H

~Hami~

Regulars
Messages
4,671
Location
NA
ISP
Airtel
^^I dont think this problem would come. Bcoz Set Top Box functions are the same. I think so.
 
G

gregory house

philosopher-in-chief
Messages
1,857
Location
NA
ISP
Reliance Dialup
Nope. First of all, you can tell him to provide one on rent - 30-50 bucks a month, which is ok compared to paying 3000 bucks. Second, the providers will have to unlock the STB firmware. I think you will be able to update the firmware to the latest one provided by the manufacturer. How do the DD DTH folks do it. Something on similar lines. There are some set top interoperability guidelines available on this. Can anyone find them?
 
H

~Hami~

Regulars
Messages
4,671
Location
NA
ISP
Airtel
i guess from december u would have the option to return the equipment and get a refund.

Yes :)