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TRAI proposes developing third-party app to select TV channels under new framework

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In the wake of complaints from consumers that they are not able to choose TV channels conveniently under the new framework for cable services, telecom regulator TRAI has proposed having a channel selection system developed by a third party to make the process easy.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), in March 2017, had notified the ‘New Regulatory Framework’ for Broadcasting and Cable services. The new framework came into effect on December 29, 2018.

TRAI’s new regulations or orders for the television and broadcasting sector gave freedom to consumers to select the television channels of their choice.

On Friday, it issued a draft amendment to the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017.

To ensure proper implementation of the new framework, TRAI has made a number of efforts such as series of meetings with Distribution Platform Operators (DPOs), publicity in electronic and news media, interactions with customer groups etc, the telecom regulator said in a statement.

(Also read: TRAI new rules for DTH, cable services: All you need to know)

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Despite making all efforts, time and again, it is being brought to notice of the authority that consumers are not able to make real choice of TV channels, it said.

TRAI said it is in receipt of several complaints from the consumers that they are not able to choose the TV channels conveniently on the web portals or apps of the DPOs.

All the complaints received in TRAI were not only analysed, but also forwarded to the DPOs to take necessary action and facilitate consumer choice, it said.

TRAI, as a special initiative, conducted field inspection for some DPOs to access the process of selection of channels made available to consumers and it was noticed that quite a few DPO platforms were not providing adequate freedom and choice to consumers, the telecom regulator said.

Customers also complained that the call centres of the DPOs also do not help them in choosing the channels, it said.

In order to address the issue, TRAI said it felt the need to have a channel selection system developed by a third party to facilitate easy channel selection by consumers.

Since the third party application will be accessible by every customer of Broadcasting and Cables Services sector, therefore, it will facilitate the easy choice to consumers, the statement said.

Through this draft regulation (second amendment), TRAI is seeking the comments of the stakeholders on the issue of developing of application by third parties and consequent sharing of information using application programming interface between DPOs and consumers.

The draft regulation (second amendment) issued on Friday shall be open for comments of the stakeholders up to August 22, 2019.

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