TRAI issues directions to MSOs to comply with rules relating to billing for each customer

NEW DELHI: Directions have been issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to multi-system operators (MSOs) covered under the first phase of digital addressable system (DAS) to ensure delivery of bill to each subscriber by hand or post or email, as may be opted by the subscriber and provide within 45 days, online payment option in its subscriber management system (SMS) for payment of bill by the subscriber.


In a direction issued under section 13, read with sub-clauses (i) and (v) of clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 11, of the TRAI Act 1997 and regulation 24 of the Standards of Quality of Service (DAS Cable TV Systems) Regulations, 2012, the regulator has also said that the MSOs must ensure within 30 days that an electronic acknowledgement is sent to the subscriber, on his registered mobile number or the e-mail address, immediately on his making any payment to the service provider.


The action comes after a study by a joint team consisting of the representatives of the Authority and Broadcast Engineers Consultants, a public sector unit of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, to inspect and audit the head- end and the subscriber management system of the MSO providing cable TV services in the National Capital Territory of Delhi.


The Authority also held meetings with the representatives of the local linked cable operators and the MSOs on 16 April and 17 April.


During the inspection, the Authority noted non-compliance of the provisions of the regulations by the service providers.


The direction said the representative of MSO or its linked LCO who collects the payment from the subscriber shall forward the details of the subscriber and the payment made in front of subscriber through his mobile phone to the subscriber management system. The SMS on receipt of this information, shall send an automatic acknowledgement of the payment received to the subscriber either on his registered mobile number or his email address.


TRAI said regulation 24 of the Standards of Quality of Service (Digital Addressable Cable TV Systems) Regulations 2012 provides that the Authority may, by order or direction, from time to time, intervene, for the purpose of protecting the interest of the subscribers or monitoring or performance of Quality of service standards of the MSO or its linked local cable operator   or for ensuring compliance of the provisions of these regulations and reads as under:-


TRAI had on 2 December 2013 directed the MSOs to offer cable TV services to its subscribers on both pre-paid and post-paid payment options and generate bills for subscriber; give to every subscriber the bill, on regular basis, for charges due and payable for each month or for any other agreed period and the bill for the period ending the 30 November 2013 latest by 15 December 2013, according to the billing cycle agreed between the parties.


The MSOs were also to give itemised bill to the subscriber clearly indicating the price of channels or bouquet of channels along with the name of channels in the bouquet, charges for basic tier and channels comprised therein, charges for set-top-box, charges for value added service, the details of taxes along with the rate of taxes and Service Tax registration number and Entertainment Tax registration number; ensure that a proper receipt is given to the subscriber by it or its linked local cable operator for every payment made by the subscriber; and provide to the pre-paid subscriber, at a reasonable cost, the information relating to the itemised usage charge showing actual usage of service. A compliance report had to be submitted by 31 December 2013 for the areas of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, Municipal Council of Greater Mumbai and Kolkata Metropolitan area.

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