Consumers now have till January 31, 2019 to select TV channels of their choice under TRAI’s new framework for broadcasting and cable services. Previously, the deadline set out by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was December 28, 2018. As per a PTI report, all existing channel packs of subscribers will now continue till the end of January.
The new regulatory framework for Broadcasting and Cable services was notified by TRAI for implementation in March, 2017 and re-notified in July, 2018. It is aimed at offering “freedom of choice” to consumers and give them “direct control” on their monthly bill for television services.
The new framework allows users to individually select and pay for channels they want to watch per month. However, all DTH and cable channel subscribers will need to subscribe to a base pack of Rs 130 plus taxes to watch 100 free-to-air channels that users can select from around 500 channels.
TRAI has said in a statement that the migration from the old framework after January 31, 2019 will be smooth and interruption-free and there will be no blackouts. “All existing packs/plans/bouquets to the subscribers will continue uninterrupted till January 31, 2019. No service provider to disconnect any signal or feed to any MSO/LCO (local cable operator)/subscriber till January 2019,” PTI report quotes TRAI’s statement.
The report adds that the deadline was pushed to give broadcasters, DTH operators, and MSOs (multi-system operators) more time for a smooth transition of 150 million subscribers that also need to be made aware of the new framework and process of subscribing to channels.
TRAI has already released the full list of channels and their maximum retail price (MRP). In addition, subscribers of direct to home (DTH) can view prices of individual channels displayed against them as well as a complete list. TV networks such as Viacom, Star, Zee have also announced their bouquet of channels as well along with their price that users can subscribe to.