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DTH players violating new norms to face strict action: TRAI chief

PTI

New Delhi

Telecom regulator TRAI on Monday warned of strict action against those cable TV and DTH players who are found violating its new tariff order and regulatory regime.

The watchdog also promised to shortly begin “audit” of subscriber management and other IT systems of errant operators.

TRAI chairman R S Sharma said consumer choice and consumer interest are “non negotiable” and “cannot be compromised” and that companies not adhering to rules will have to face the consequences.

“We have received complaints about inconvenience to customers. These complaints relate to software and systems put in place by distributors not enabling true choice for consumers, which is the aim of the whole framework. If choice of channels is restricted…Then basic intention seems to be to push packs and bouquets and push your own agenda. That is not the spirit of the regulatory framework,” Sharma told PTI.

It is okay for consumers to choose packs or bouquets but the choice for TV viewing has to remain with customers, and they should be “enabled” to do so, he said.

“If you disable consumers from exercising their choice then it is a true violation of the framework. We have taken these things seriously, and we have issued showcause notices to a number of distributors,” the TRAI chief said.

TRAI will come down “heavily” on any entity which comes in the way of true implementation of its tariff order or causes any inconvenience to consumers, Sharma said terming consumer choice as the ‘central theme’ of new norms for cable and broadcasting sector.

“If you somehow try to circumvent that or negate it (consumer choice) then we are going to apply full regulatory strength to ensure that the entities comply,” Sharma said.

TRAI is in the process of empanelling auditing agencies and will soon begin audit of subscriber management and other IT systems for companies that are found to be flouting norms.

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