In an effort to ensure quality services to subscribers residing in non-CAS areas as well as those subscribing to DTH services TRAI issued a consultation paper. The stakeholders can send their comments on the issues raised in the consultation paper by December 31, 2008.
The consultation paper will touch upon facts such as procedures, timelines for connections or disconnections or transfer of cable TV services. The procedure for billing as well as billing related complaints, overall complaint of the addressal system, in areas where cable service providers are providing digital transmission, timeline and the procedure for services relating to provision of digital decoders and STBs (Set-Top-Box) in non-CAS areas.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has also been addressed for enlarging the scope of the existing district level monitoring committees in order to enable these committees to monitor the proposed Quality of Service (QoS) Regulations. It is a fact that the enforcement of the proposed regulations is a challenging task. The proposed regulations have largely to be seen as a tool for self regulation by the service providers and one expects from them a high degree of sensitivity and responsiveness towards the subscribers. This is primarily due to the fact that there is a very large number of cable operators widely spread over large geographical areas. The consultation paper attempts to solicit the view of stakeholders on the following issues involving quality of service aspects of cable television service in non-CAS area.
TRAI Chairman, Nripendra Mishra said, “The quality standards should be same as that in CAS areas so that in future migration of a non-CAS area to a CAS area will be comparatively easier. As per TRAI, there are 78 million consumers receiving cable TV services in non-CAS areas, being served by about 60,000 cable operators. The issues raised for DTH Quality of Services pertain to dropping of channels by the service providers, maintenance and visiting charges and protection to the subscribers regarding their tariff plans.”
The TRAI says it has written to various State Governments for effective monitoring and enforcement of quality of service parameters whenever such guidelines are issued in future. Additionally, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has also been addressed for enlarging the scope of the existing District level monitoring committees in order to enable these committees to monitor the proposed QoS Regulations.
The stakeholders can send their comments on the issues raised in the consultation paper by 31st December, 2008.
Roop Sharma, President, Cable Operators Association of India (COAI) said, “The TRAI move of issuing consultation paper for non CAS cable TV is much needed and is good for the industry. It would encourage competition which is much needed. The key focus area for the cable industry is the implementation of CAS, the addressability and availability of pay channels. The moment CAS is allowed it will also bring in level playing field which is very crucial.”
On the key concern of DTH industry Salil Kapoor, COO Dish TV said, “At present it is the multiple taxation that is the biggest concern for the industry, regulations from the customers’ point of view is fine. Keeping in mind the issue of sustainability, this is an industry which can give connectivity to even the most remote areas of India.”