The new tariff regime for television viewers will not increase monthly bills as service providers empower consumers to select channels of their choice, TRAI Chairman R S Sharma said on Tuesday.
From April 1, viewers will pay only for the channels they want as new rules to curb the practice of bundling unwanted channels into bouquets come into force.
According to new pricing regime by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), broadcasters, distributors and cable television operators must price each channel separately with the rate capped at Rs 19 each. The deadline was extended thrice to create awareness among subscribers.
Sharma said the TRAI is collating data which will demonstrate that monthly bills do not increase. “On an average, 90 per cent of people’s watch less than 50 channels. Even my monthly TV bill has come down from Rs 700 to Rs 236 per month.”
Subscribers will now pay only Rs 130 per month to access 100 free-to-air channels. They can select individual channels or a bouquet of channels provided by the broadcaster or distributor at extra cost. Broadcasters will have to price each channel individually for customers.
Sharma said the TRAI is getting complaints against some service providers for not activating select channels for viewers, or taking too much time in doing so.
“We show cause defaulting service providers once we get a complaint against them. Customers can register their complaints on our call centre as well,” he said.