The frequent change in position of one’s favourite TV channels and regular loss of signal may come down significantly, if the fresh draft proposal by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on quality of services for the metros, where CAS is to be implemented, sees light of the day. The regulator will make a final recommendation in this regard after due consultation with the stakeholders.
According to the draft, the cable operator now has to provide all detail relevant information, including services offered and rules under CAS, preferably in a local language. If a cable TV subscriber wishes to shift his cable operator, the request should be addressed within five working days.
In order to further empower the consumer under a CAS-enabled scenario, the regulator has proposed to make it mandatory for cable operator to maintain a customer service centre or helpdesk 12 hours a day, six days a week. “A facility for automatic recording of complaints or some other mechanism for registering of complaints should be in place during the period the helpdesk or service centre is not in operation,” the proposal stated.
In order to further rein in the cable operators, TRAI held that 90 per cent of complaints should be attended within four hours and that no more than 3 per cent of subscribers enrolled with the cable operator should require lodging a complaint against service interruption each month.
In cases where there is a malfunction of a set top box (STB) provided by the operator on rent, a cable operator will have to repair or replace the STB within 24 hours. In cases where a customer chooses to return an STB, the refund must be made within 15 days.
In case the installation and activation of the STB is delayed beyond 48 hours of the receipt of the subscriber’s request, the cable operator will have to give a rebate of Rs 15 per day for the first five days and Rs 10 per day for the subsequent period.
Cable operators now won’t be able to change the position of channels whimsically. They will have to notify subscribers at least three days in advance of such an occurrence. Further, it cannot disconnect a cable connection ‘for whatever reason’ without giving notice of at least 30 days clearly indicating the specific reasons for disconnection.
The new draft is a result of the agreement among all stakeholders during their discussions with the government that TRAI should formulate a standard form of agreement between cable operators and consumers.
The discussion was held between the stakeholders and the I&B Ministry after the Delhi High Court directed the government to implement Conditional Access System (CAS) in the three metros of Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi on a petition filed by a group of multi-service operators.