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About TRAI new cable network laws

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India as you know is one of the top in-charge organizations that set the rules and guidelines that every telecom related firms in India should abide.
It is well-known fact that every one using a DTH or a cable TV connection in India had to pay a fixed amount every month for a specific bundle of channels even if he/she does not need half of the channels in the bundle. This custom, that most of the cable TV or DTH service providers used to follow, in a way, was looting from customers. However, with TRAI’s new rule, which was, published this month, states that “the consumer will have the complete freedom to select the channels that will be included in a bundle of 100 (standard definition) channels within the network capacity fee of INR 130 maximum”. This simply means that every customer will have to pay a basic amount of INR 130 and is eligible to get a bundle of 100 channels, but the user has the option to select all the 100 channels in the bundle.

The new rule set by the TRAI will allow the customer to select the channel he/she needs and has to pay for the selected channel only. The selected channels could be a free-to-air channel, pay channel, a bouquet of pay channel, or a-la-carte. Therefore, to be simple, the customer has the complete freedom to select the channels he/she wants and pay for the channels he/she selects. However, there is one thing that you should remember there are free channels and paid channels, if the number of paid channels in your selection is more, you will have to pay more than INR 130 and there will be an 18% GST on the amount. Click here to get the list of free channels https://channel.trai.gov.in/freechannels.php?fbclid=IwAR3ckS-_naHHC_jCSn0GDjAqGQftXn8r_qDaGCC1O33KoveC48DePJFyhEA
Now, with this told, the TRAI also mentions that they have noticed some broadcasters trying to find their way around the new rule by advertising that some of the channels will be available only in the form of monthly bouquets and the channels in the bouquets are fixed. However, to customers who are facing such a scenario, the TRAI quotes that “even if the broadcaster advertises and offers channels as a bouquet, the customer will have the right to choose the channels on a-la-carte also”. This means that the customer does not have to select the bouquet to get the desired channel; he/she can select the desired channel alone and neglect the bouquet. The last date for picking the channels and finalizing the bundle is scheduled for January 31, 2019.

HD channels
We have been talking about the standard definition channels above, however, according to TRAI’s latest rule, if the customer selects an HD channel instead of an SD channel in the base pack then, the HD channel will be counted as two channels. The TRAI mentions that the user can view the MRP (Maximum Retail Price” of each channel) in the EPG (Electronic Program Guide) or in the menu of your cable TV channel.

More than 100 channels
It is not necessary that every user will need only 100 channels in their cable TV or DTH, some users might require more than 100 channels, for such customers, the TRAI mentions that they have the option to select 25 extra channels at INR 20 as network capacity fee. This means the user will have to pay INR 130+20 and the MRP of the paid channels if there are any paid channels in the chosen 25 channels.

The maximum price of any channel
Before you proceed to select any channel, you should know that there the price of a channel available on DTH or cable TV is limited to INR 19. No broadcaster or DTH operator will be allowed to charge more than this amount for a channel in their services.
If you cannot find the MRP or any information related to the new rules and regulation set by TRAI, then, you should know that, TRAI has instructed the broadcasters to run “Consumer Information Channel” on channel number 999, where all the information about the new rule and the prices of the channels will be revealed.

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