TRAI directs 6 DPOs to adhere to NTO rules within 5 days

Issues ranging from DPOs forcing channel packs on customers, to them not providing receipts have been listed in the document

TRAI

TRAI on Tuesday directed six DPOs namely GTPL Hathway, Siti Network, Hathway Digital, Fastway Transmissions, Den Networks, and IndusInd Media and Communications limited to adhere to the regulations of the New Tariff Order for the broadcast and cable services sectors within five days. The directive mentions that TRAI has observed many MSOs violating the rules. Issues ranging from DPOs forcing channel packs on customers, to them not providing receipts have been listed in the document.

Siti Network issued a statement on the same saying, “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 However to facilitate reconciliation between LCO’s and customers these features have been temporarily withdrawn.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.”

When exchange4media spoke to industry insiders, they said they felt that NTO has affected the cable operators a lot. A senior official from a leading broadcaster on anonymity, said, “What TRAI has adjudged is right. We come across a lot of consumers who are facing a lot of problems selecting a particular package. The problem is from the backend only because they have not been able to sustain in this scenario. They are not prepared to take this kind of load. Now the consumers can choose as per their wish. You have to subscribe to a particular channel. You have to switch on those particular packs, so that puts a lot of load on the system which they are not able to handle.”

Suggesting a solution, the broadcaster said, “They have to reduce the prices. The best fit plan could be different for consumers and TRAI. It should be revised as per the consumers’ choice. They have to make their systems very robust.”

An industry expert, who also did not wish to be named, echoed similar sentiments, pointing out, “The NTO has affected the DTOs a lot. They are not equipped to handle such kind of demands. That’s why consumers are seeing blackouts even after the NTO has been rolled out. That’s why many of them have moved to DTH providers. People have a lot of content to consume on OTT platforms as well.”

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