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‘TRAI hopeful of 90% customer onboarding by Feb 1 deadline for new tariff regime’

Telecom regulator TRAI is hopeful of at least 90 per cent TV viewer onboarding before the February 1 deadline for migration to the new tariff regime for broadcasting and cable services, according to Chairman RS Sharma.

Up against stringent timelines, and with just days to go before the crucial switch-over, the regulator is also keeping a hawk eye on the progress made by Distribution Platform Owner (DPO) and the broadcasters in recording consumer choices.

In an interview, Sharma told agencies that the trend recorded in the past few days a sudden surge in recording of customer preferences by service providers indicated that the desired figure of 100 per cent onboarding will be reached soon.

It is true that initially the speed was not good, but now it has picked up in the last few days, and looking at the trend, we feel, we will be able to reach the figure of over 90 per cent by January 31 there may be 10 per cent cases where people may be travelling or not present at home, Sharma said.

Earlier, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had stated on January 24 that close to 40 per cent of the consumers have already exercised their options.

TRAI had unveiled the new tariff order and regulatory regime for the broadcast and cable sector, which would pave the way for consumers to opt for channels they wish to view, and pay only for them. It had said every channel should be offered a la carte, with a transparent display of rates on electronic programme guide. Although TRAI had prescribed a phased roadmap for customer onboarding by players, the pace for the same was sluggish at the beginning.

The regulator has ruled out any extension of upcoming deadline, and Sharma said in some cases the operators themselves certain association and broadcasters — have made written submission that the timelines should not be altered.


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