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TRAI extends deadline to select TV channels till March 31

The authority directed DPOs and LCOs that subscribers who do not exercise their options will be migrated to a 'Best Fit Plan'. There will be no 'lock-in period' for subscribers till March 31 who have been migrated to the 'Best Fit Plan' by DPOs

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has further extended its deadline for the selection of TV channels till March 31. This decision was taken following grievances raised by distribution platform operators (DPOs) and local cable operators (LCOs), stating that subscribers were facing difficulties in selecting channels and bouquets of their choice.

The authority has directed the DPOs that those subscribers who do not exercise their options shall be migrated to a 'Best Fit Plan'. The subscribers' old plan will continue till either they exercise their option or migrate to the 'Best Fit Plan'.

Subscribers will be free to change their 'Best Fit Plan' at any date and time on or before March 31. DPOs will convert their 'Best Fit Plan' into the desired pack (channel/bouquet) within 72 hours from the time the choice is exercised by the subscriber. There will be no 'lock-in period' till March 31 for the subscribers who have been migrated to the 'Best Fit Plan' by DPOs.

In a statement, the authority said, “It was brought to the notice of the authority that as the system of selecting channels/bouquet by the subscribers has been introduced for first time in the country, some subscribers are facing difficulties in selecting the channels/bouquet of their choice. In some cases, LCOs have not been able to reach out to subscribers to create awareness among them and collect the options. Some subscribers may be required to go to the nearest point of sale (POS) for exercising their option as they do not have access to IT facility or are not comfortable in using IT system to exercise their options. We are emphasising time and again that no inconvenience should be caused to subscribers while they are being migrated to the new framework.”

There are around 100 million cable service TV homes and 67 million DTH TV homes in the country. As on date, approximately 65% subscribers of cable services and 35% DTH users have exercised the option. There were a few cases where the pay channels of subscribers who have not exercised the option had been deactivated.

In a statement, the authority noted that though the new framework promotes consumer choice and enables them to pay for what they wish to view, the 'non-exercise of the option' should not create any inconvenience.

The authorities stated that DPOs should continue to provide various user-friendly methods to subscribers to exercise their choice. These methods may include personal contact by LCOs, calling on the call centre number, using mobile apps or through the website.

DPOs should also continue to generate awareness among the subscribers regarding the new regulatory framework, its benefits and methods to exercise the option to choose the channels of their choice.

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