Regulators

TRAI may look at “finetuning” new tariff order

The regulatory body won’t rush into it without adequate data backup

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MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) may look at “finetuning” the new tariff order for cable and broadcasting sector to address any “aberrations”, as per a news report by Economic Times. However, the regulatory body won’t rush into this without adequate data backup.

“When a new thing is put in place, you always notice that in some areas, things are not working out the way you had imagined, or in some areas some finetuning is required,” TRAI chairman RS Sharma told ET. Sharma also added that the new regime marked a “paradigm shift,” giving customers transparency and choice as well as providing a level playing field for operators.

“Finetuning will require some data and we don’t want to get into that on the basis of anecdotes, ARPU (average revenue per user), number of litigations, etc. We’re looking at this carefully and collecting data and will finetune (the regulation) at the right time,” Sharma said. He said that the regulatory body is looking at if there are any aberrations in the implementation of the tariff order and they would rectify accordingly.

However, it was not clear if the finetuning will also consider looking at ways to reduce monthly cable and DTH (direct-to-home) bills of consumers. The new tariff order reduced the cable bill for users who use fewer channels but it increased it for many. Even, some subscribers found the new regime complicated.

He also clarified that subscribers will have the freedom to select separate channels on their second set-top box like they can do for their first box. He also noted that the industry agreed to give discounts for the second box.  While he acknowledged that adapting to the new regime is taking time with people learning along the way, he said consumers need to have complete control over choosing and paying for channels.

“We’ve issued show-cause notices, etc. So, we’re very proactive to ensure that aberrations that take place are set right before they become the regular practice,” Sharma said while mentioning that in some places broadcasters are not doing it.

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