TRAI caps DTH, cable installation charges at `500

TRAI caps DTH, cable installation charges at `500

In a move to protect cable TV consumers’ interest, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has capped Rs 500 as installation and activation charges for cable and DTH services.

The amount of Rs 350 will be charged as an installation charge while Rs 150 as an activation charge under the new tariff regime beginning from December 29.

The authority also directed local cable operators and Multiple System Operators (MSOs) not to compel any subscriber to buy or take on rent the Set Top Box (STB) from him alone.

“If a consumer manages to find a set-top-box or equipment that works with a particular cable or Direct To Home (DTH) service, then he or she should be allowed to use the same by the DTH or cable operator”, TRAI said in its order.

At present, DTH operators charge around Rs 1,200 per connection while cable TV network charge between Rs 800 and Rs 900 per connection, which is considered non-refundable.

The equipment cost incurred by a DTH operator for a new connection is around Rs 2,200 for a standard-definition subscriber and around Rs 2,500 for a high-definition subscriber. In the case of cable TV STB, the cost of new connection is between Rs 900 and Rs 1100 per connection depending on the area.

Under the new tariff rules, cable TV consumers will have to shell out more from December 29. According to cable operators, a consumer will have to pay to choose individual channels, which they want to watch. Consumer will need to pay individually for each channel. Under the new tariff regime, a cable TV consumer’s monthly bill will go up to Rs 400 or Rs 450 per month. If he or she is opting for premium bouquets, the bill will be over Rs 600-700 per month.

Presently, there are 30 crore households in the country. Nearly 19 crore households have TV connections. It is estimated that at least 10 crore have connections provided through cable TV network.

Currently, consumers pay a monthly bill of Rs 250-350 for a cable TV connection, which includes sports and regional channels depending on the localities.