Trai slams CRISIL on new cable, DTH tariff regime

Trai slams CRISIL on new cable, DTH tariff regime

Disputing CRISIL’s report that TV bills may go up for a majority of subscribers after the new regulatory framework for broadcasting and cable services kicked in from February 1, 2019, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Wednesday said that initial data from broadcasters shows that bills have gone down by 10-15% in metros and 5-10% in non-metros.

“(CRISIL) report is based on choosing top rated channels on all India basis and considers only one weekly report (January 25, 2019) from BARC (TV rating agency). It is not based on detailed and focused analysis, supported by data, and will mislead subscribers,” Trai chairman RS Sharma told reporters. CRISIL declined to comment on Trai’s views on the report.

Assuaging concerns that TV bills will go up under the new regulatory regime, Sharma explained that the basic architecture of the new framework provides for fair competition among broadcasters and real prices will be discovered after a few weeks. For the first time a subscriber can see the offered price of a TV channel. “Please understand these are early days and data sets would be available after a few weeks. Trai is constantly monitoring the situation and is in touch with cable operators and broadcasters regarding issues being faced by the people,” he assured the media.

On pricing, Trai secretary SK Gupta said, “We have information from a few large distribution platform owners (DPOs) and preliminary data analysis indicates that actual savings by subscribers is around 10-15% in metro towns and 5-10% in non-metro towns. Also around 27 broadcasters across 168 channels have reduced their prices in the last four weeks.”

Trai has issued a showcause notice to Bharti Airtel’s digital TV services arm over a TV black-out during migrating subscribers to the new regulatory framework for broadcasters and cable operators, which the company blamed on the massive surge in requests at the last minute.

Trai sources said that they received information that during migrating subscribers, a large service provider has caused black-out on TV for a few thousand users. When contacted, a Bharti spokesperson said, “Customer experience is of paramount importance to us. We have over 15 million customers who are being migrated to the new tariff regime. Due to massive surge in last minute requests, particularly on January 31 and February 1, few customers may have experienced some delays in provisioning of channels. We remain fully committed to ensuring compliance with all Trai guidelines and will file our response to the notice.”