TRAI plans guidelines for cable TV services in non-CAS areas

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India,the regulatory body that covers broadcasting and cable services,is chalking out parameters for laying codes and guidelines for the cable TV services in non-Conditional Access System areas.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: February 7, 2009 1:41:10 am

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI),the regulatory body that covers broadcasting and cable services,is chalking out parameters for laying codes and guidelines for the cable TV services in non-Conditional Access System (CAS) areas.

At a consultative discussion on Friday,TRAI met the last mile operators,the multi-system operators and DTH service providers to discuss on the possible guidelines.

Guidelines will cover issues like abiding by a uniform Bureau of Indian Standards specifications incase of transmission equipments,monitoring signal strength,regulating the contract periods and package norms,rolling out of grievance redress cells,applying transparent billing process among a host of others.

As per the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act,the regulatory body is required to lay down the standards of quality of service to be provided by the service providers in the interest of the consumers.

Though the TRAI had imposed such codes and guidelines for cable services in CAS notified areas in 2006 and for DTH services in 2007,such regulations could not cover about 78 million customers in non-CAS areas under 60,000 cable operators because of the fragmented sector of cable TV.

“With the gradual introduction of CAS,DTH,HITS and IPTV like digital services which has an edge over analog services,the expectations of the consumers in the service front even in the non-CAS areas are increasing. So there is a need to empower the consumers by creating certain rights for better quality of service regulations,” said RN Choubey,principal advisor,TRAI.

“Enforcement machinery will empower the subscriber to approach the district consumer redressal forums in case quality of service benchmarks is not met. We are writing to state governments for involving the district administration for enforcement of these regulations,” said Nripendra Misra,chairman,TRAI.

“The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has also been addressed for enlarging the scope of state level and district level monitoring committees,so that they can also monitor that the standard norms are implemented in non-CAS areas,” added Misra.

The TRAI has started imposing financial disincentives on the telemarketing service providers who might not comply with the unsolicited commercial call guidelines of TRAI. If the initial stage is successful they will extend it to the other service providers like cable,DTH and landline. Already a sanction ranging from Rs 1,000 to 20,000 on four to five telecom operating companies has been imposed.

With the much-hyped CAS stalled after first phase,TRAI is recommending its extension to the ministry.

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