India’s telecom regulator has begun a review of the broadcast tariff regime it implemented eight months ago to address complaints from viewers about higher bills and picking the channels they want to watch becoming more difficult.
The review is aimed at easing channel choice and will possibly lead to lower bills, some experts said. The regulator also admonished broadcasters and cable operators for misusing the new rules to extract revenue and kill consumer choice.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India issued an exhaustive consultation paper on Friday that also raised about 30 questions. It asked whether channel bouquets should be allowed, whether caps on discounts within bouquets offered to consumers should be reintroduced and whether the ceiling price of channels in bouquets — at ?19 now — should be reexamined.
The regulator called out cable operators and DTH providers — together known as distribution platform operators (DPOs) — as well as broadcasters for seeking to squeeze consumers by pricing popular a-la-carte channels higher outside bouquets. Also, as part of this, channel prices had been changed after TRAI introduced the new rules in December 2018. The sheer number of channel groups is confusing, it said.
“While the intent of TRAI’s new regulatory framework was to give freedom to consumers in terms of choice, many confusions abounded,” said Prabhu Ram, head of the intelligence group at Cybermedia Research. “The new TRAI consultation paper is a pertinent proposal aimed to benefit consumers, and translating into lower monthly bills.”
Source: Economic Times