DTH

TRAI issues show-cause notice to Airtel over DTH service blackouts

Airtel has three days to respond to the notice

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MUMBAI: Telecom and DTH operator major Airtel has been served a show-cause notice by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) over issues of blackout faced by some Airtel Digital TV subscribers during transition to the new tariff regime, a report by news agency IANS said.

The regulator, which sent the notice earlier this week, has given Airtel three days to respond.

Airtel's DTH service had 15 million customers at the end of the third quarter, up 7.6 per cent over the corresponding quarter in 2017.

Commenting on the regulator’s notice, an Airtel spokesperson said: "We have over 15 million customers who are being migrated to the new tariff regime. Due to massive surge in last-minute requests, particularly on 31 January and 1 February, few customers may have experienced some delays in provisioning of channels."

"Customer experience is of paramount importance to us. We remain fully committed to ensuring compliance with all TRAI guidelines and will file our response to the notice," he added.

The new tariff order for cable and DTH TV services came into effect on 1 February post a month-long extension that was granted by TRAI to all stakeholders.

The regulator has held constant meetings with DPOs and broadcasters to ensure a smooth transition to the new system.

"The authority has noticed that due to heavy rush, the website of some DPOs have crashed intermittently and a little inconvenience was caused to come subscribers due to sporadic local issues. However, by and large the migration of subscribers to the new regulatory framework has been smooth," TRAI said in a press note on Wednesday.

This isn’t the first time the regulator has shown that it means business. Last month, the TRAI sent a show-cause notice to Tata Sky.

According to a report by news agency PTI, TRAI's show-cause notice said, "Tata Sky has failed to provide options to its 17.7 million subscribers in compliance with the new framework to exercise their choices for TV channels. Tata Sky has put its subscribers in a situation of great difficulty despite no fault of theirs by not complying with the provisions of the new regulations and the tariff order.”

While both DTH operators have now complied by the TRAI’s tariff order, they, along with Sun Direct and Discovery Communication India, continue to battle against the new norms in the Delhi High Court.

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