Regulators

TRAI directs 6 DPOs, flouting new tariff order rules, to comply within 5 days

TRAI officials visited consumers' homes to verify complaints

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MUMBAI: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Tuesday directed six distribution platform operators (DPOs) to comply with all provisions of its new tariff order for the broadcast and cable services sectors within five days.

“Report compliance as per the new regulatory framework within 5 days from the date of issue of this direction,” ordered the regulator after it found top multi system operators (MSOs) GTPL Hathway, Siti Networks, Hathway Digital, Fastway Transmissions, Den Networks and IndusInd Media and Communications Ltd (IMCL) in violation of several rules of the new tariff order.

Based on receipt of complaints and inspection of DPOs’ websites and consumer premises by TRAI officials, the following issues were observed by the regulator.

GTPL Hathway

·        The said DPO is forcing the channels/packs to the consumers

·        Subscribers are not able to delete the channels

·        The said DPO is not providing bill receipt of payment made in printed form to the consumers.

Siti Networks

·        The said DPO is forcing the channels/packs to the consumers

·        Subscribers are not able to re-exercise their choice

·        The said DPO is not providing bill receipt of payment made in printed form to the consumers

·        Subscribers are not able to login to their account for selecting channels of their choice

However, Siti Networks has issued a clarification on the issue.

“SITI Networks’ had launched its self-care services through website and Mobile app in January 2019 for customers. This feature enabled customers to not only exercise their choice, but also manage and pay for their packs. Customers were able to completely customize their packs and add channels / bouquets of their choice, thus giving full freedom as mandated by TRAI. However to facilitate re-conciliation between LCO’s and customers these features have been temporarily withdrawn. SITI has been actively working with all stakeholders to re-start self-care features at the earliest," a statement from the MSO said.  

Hathway Digital

·        The said DPO is offering bouquets which contain both FTA and pay channels

·        Subscribers who have already paid amount in advance for one year, the pay channels of such consumers have been cut without their consent and only FTA channels are being shown

·        Most of the times, the consumers are not able to contact the toll free number of Hathway Digital to express their grievance

·        Subscribers are not able to re-exercise their choice through website and the following message is being displayed: For any type of renewal please call your local cable operator

Fastway Transmissions

·        Unavailability of choice of channels to the customer in selecting channels

·        Forcing its own channels/packs to the consumers

·        Hyperlink for 'consumer corner' for enabling the consumers to make their choices is not available on the website

Den Networks

·        The process of channel selection on the website of Den Networks is not user friendly (while selecting a-la-carte channels, search option is not available)

·        After selecting the channels, it is displayed on the website that activation will be done after paying the amount to the LCO

·        The said DPO is forcing the channels/packs to the consumers

·        Subscribers are not able to re-exercise their choice

·        The said DPO is not providing bill receipt of payment made in printed form to the consumers

IMCL

·        The process of channel selection on the website of IMCL is not user-friendly (while selecting a-la-carte channels, genre-wise list of channels is not available)

·        IMCL is overcharging the subscribers in the name of service charges

·        IMCL is forcing the channels/packs to the consumers

·        Subscribers are not able to re-exercise their choice

“We are monitoring the implementation of the new regulatory framework by the service providers. In case any violation by any service provider is noticed, we will act as per prevailing law. On prior occasions, show-cause notices were also issued to few errant DPOs. TRAI never compromises on such violations of regulations or any market aberrations, if noticed,” TRAI chairman RS Sharma had recently told Indiantelevision.com during an exclusive interview.

TRAI’s deadline for consumers to select their new TV channels ended on 31 March. Consumers that did not pick new channels have now been migrated to ‘best fit packs’.

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