Telecom and broadcast regulator, The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), has issued amendments to the DTH Quality of Service (QoS) norms that were issued in 2007. “At the time of issue of these regulations, only two DTH operators apart from Doordarshan were providing DTH services in the country. Since then, three new DTH operators have started commercial operations and the number of DTH subscribers has also risen to about 11 million,” Trai said in a statement laying out the need for the amendments. Following are some key amendments.
1) DTH firms cannot charge the subscriber for visits or repairs for equipment under guarentee.
2) The channel composition of a subscription package can’t be changed for six months (if the validity of a prepaid plan is longer, that will apply).
3) During this period, the the DTH operator must pull a channel, subscription charges should proportionately be reduced, or another channel in the same genre and language must replace it.
4) While the DTH operator can choose the channel that will replace the unavailable channel, the subscriber can choose whether to accept the new package or to pay the lower price.
5) DTH operators must entertain requests to suspend subscriber accounts for a period of 1-3 months.
Update: We thought reader Gopal Srinivasan raised an excellent point in the comments field–that TRAI’s rules may dissuade DTH players from adding channels to the subscription package without raising prices, as they have done in the recent past. We raised the issue with TRAI and joint advisor Rakesh Gupta clarified that there is no restriction on a DTH operator adding a channel. “There were a lot of complaints during consultations that DTH operators were unilaterally taking off channels from subscription packages. There is no restriction on adding channels to a package,” Gupta said.