Following the I&B Ministry’s announcement, extending the deadline for the digitization of cable TV in the four metros- Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, by four months, where it blamed the TRAI for the delay in bringing regulations and tariff order on digital addressable systems, the TRAI has now issued a clarification that both its orders on Tariff & Interconnection, and quality of service & consumer complaints redressal have come into force from the day of their publication in the official Gazette – 20th april 2012 and 14th May 2012, respectively.
This would mean that the TRAI’s regulations on channel packages, carriage fee and revenue sharing are in effect even though the deadline for digitization has been extended. Similarly, TRAI’s second order which was issued on 14th May, 2012, mandating that every MSO or its linked Cable Operator put in place a Consumer Complaint Redressal System consisting of a complaint centre with toll free consumer care number, web based complaint monitoring system as well as appoint or designate one or more nodal officers and publish consumer’s charter for Digital systems, would also be in effect.
The Ministry in its press statement had said that the TRAI regulations for Digitization will come into effect from 1st November, 2012, and had extended the deadline for digitization of cable in the metros to 31st October 2012. We feel that this would only create more confusion for broadcasters, MSOs and cable operators, since they’re in the mid of negotiations and contracts, and this would give rise to ambiguity.
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