Television viewing in India may get cheaper again as TRAI works on reducing bills

  • TRAI is reportedly working on a consultation paper aimed to reduce cable television bills.
  • When the new tariff regime came into place in February 2019, there was a huge uproar from consumers because of having to ultimately pay higher prices.
  • TRAI is also looking to regulate OTT platforms in India.
Within months of implementing a new DTH tariff regime, the telecom regulator wants to try and make cable bills cheaper, yet again. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is working on a consultation paper to reduce the bills, according to reports.

Under the new tariff regime which was painstakingly implemented by players in February this year, consumers could pay-per-channel, making way for more transparency in the final bill they were paying.

However, this pro-consumer move resulted in confusion amongst users and even television blackouts. As a result, the number of consumer complaints shot up.


TRAI had to issue a showcause notice to Airtel when old channels were disconnected and new channels selected by consumers, failed to activate.


Not cheap at all


Consumers also complained of having to pay higher prices than before. In order to deal with the confusion, TRAI also extended the time for selection of channels for viewers under the new subscription model. The revised date for consumers stood at March 31.


However, it seems that almost two months later, things are not right yet. “The aim was to make TV channel pricing more transparent and to give control of channels to the consumers, while making it more affordable… but it did not pan out that way,” a TRAI official told ET.


Meanwhile, TRAI is also looking to regulate OTT platforms like Hotstar, SonyLiv and ZEE5. TRAI Chairman R.S. Sharma, along with other dignitaries recently held an open house discussion for a consultation Paper on regulatory framework for Over-the Top (OTT) communication services in India.
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