The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a new statement clarifying that consumers will have full choice on the SD (standard definition) channels they can get as part of its new rules and regulations for DTH and cable operators.

TRAI in a new press release on January 10 said that customers have complete freedom to choose the 100 free channels (SD resolution), which will be offered in the base pack of Rs 130 (exclusive of taxes).

In the press statement TRAI has said, “Consumer has complete freedom to choose their desired 100 Standard Definition (SD) channels within the network capacity fee of maximum Rs 130. The desired channels could be in a-la-carte, Free to Air channels, or Pay channels or bouquet of pay channels or any combination thereof. The choice completely rests with the consumers.

This means that the 100 channels being offered in this base pack of Rs 130 can all be decided by the consumer. The DTH company or cable operator cannot force the consumer to stick with a particular pack.

TRAI’s statement adds that it has noticed that some broadcasters are advertising their channels only in the form of monthly bouquets, where they have bundled together several channels. “Customer may note that they have option to choose channels on a-la-carte also,” reminds TRAI. Bouquets mean a higher monthly adjustment cost in your base pack of Rs 130.

For example, one network will have bouquet offering, where say five of their channels are clubbed together and offered for a per month cost. If you pick this bouquet with 5 channels, then this is adjusted in the base of Rs 130.

But users should know that they can choose a channel individually, and do not have to pick the bouquet with all the extra channels.

The deadline for picking which channels you want  is January 31, 2019. On February 1, 2019, these new rules and packs come into play.

More than 100 channels

For those who want more than these 100 channels, they will have the option of choosing them in bouquets of 25 channels @Rs 20 extra pack.  Taxes will mean that the final price could be higher, but for many users who do not watch too many channels, the bill will be significantly lower than current packs.

Also if one is choosing an HD (high definition) channel instead of SD channel in the base pack, then it will be counted as 2 channels.

TRAI is saying that users can view also the maximum retail price (MRP) of a channel on a-la-carte basis in the Electronic Programe Guide (EPG) or menu of television screens.

Players like Dish TV already have a page on their website letting customers choose their channels based on TRAI’s new order and create their pack of 100 or more channels. Users can rely on several combinations to choose what they want to see on their connection.

Cable operators, DTH operators can provide discount on the MRP displayed on the EPG. The maximum price of a channel has been restricted to Rs 19.

All providers have to run “Consumer Information channel” preferably on channel No 999 wherein consumer related information, including the prices of channels on a-la-carte and bouquets have to be revealed, adds the press release.

For all subscribers, TRAI wants them to exercise their options well before January 31, 2019 to continue to view their favourite channel in order to avoid any last minute inconvenience.

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