Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Consumer Advisories- Digitization of Cable TV through Digital Addressable System (DAS)

Consumer Advisories- Digitization of Cable TV through Digital Addressable System (DAS)

The Govt. of India has already notified that it is obligatory for every Cable Operator to transmit or re-transmit of any channel in an encrypted form through a digital addressable system in the entire country in 4 phases.

Phase 1:
By 31/10/2012
In 4 metros namely Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata & Chennai (This Phase has already been implemented)
Phase 2:
By 31/03/2013
38 cities with a population of more than 10 lakhs
Phase 3:
All other urban areas
Rest of India

In a Digital Addressable System (DAS), TV channels are sent through cable TV network in digital and encrypted form and only authorized users can receive channels using a Set Top Box.  Under the digitization of TV transmission and reception:

1. The consumers would be required to get install a Set Top Box (STB).

2. There will be no requirement to change the TV system.

3. A separate STB would be required in case you have more than one TV set in the same premises.
4. The STB can be obtained from your local cable operator. Cable operator has to offer STB in options:

·  Outright Purchase
·  Rental and
·  hire-purchase scheme 

In case of Rental and Hire-Purchase Scheme:
1. The cable operator should refund the security deposit (if any), after adjusting any dues on termination of the connection..
2. If the consumer is not satisfied with the services provided by the cable operator, the consumer shall be free to opt out and cable operator shall allow the consumer to surrender the STB after deduction which shall not exceed 25% for each half year or part of it.
3. The cable operator is required to give a minimum warranty of one year on STB acquired by a consumer on outright purchase basis. Consumer is not required to pay any charge towards repair and maintenance of STB during warranty period.
4. In case of STB acquired under the hire-purchase scheme or on rental scheme, the consumer is not required to pay any charge to wards repair and maintenance of the STB during the period of hire-purchase or rental.
5. The cable operator is required to offer TV channels individually on standalone basis or bouquet of channels.
The following are the options of TV channel that can be subscribed by the consumer:
· Only FTA (Free to Air) channel- The cable operator can charge an amount not exceeding Rs.100/- per connection per month plus Taxes. Cable operator has to compulsory offer a package of 100 FTA channel at a MRP of Rs.100/- per connection per month.
· Package or bouquet of channels
· One or more channel on a-la-carte basis
· Bouquet of channels
· Pay channels and FTA channel.

If the consumer opts for one or more pay channels with or without FTA channels, the operator can prescribe a minimum charges not exceeding Rs.150/- per connection per month.
· Cable operator has been mandated to offer all channels on a la-carte basis.
· Cable operator cannot prescribe a minimum subscription period exceeding 3 months for channels on a a-la-carte basis.
· The rates for pay channel on a-la-carte basis can not exceed 3 times the average channel rate of each bouquet. (example: If the rate of bouquet of 10 channel is Rs.100/-, then the rate for any channel on a-la-carte basis cannot exceed Rs.30/-).

Consumer has rights to:
1. Seek details of the schemes, terms and conditions of subscriptions and Set Top Box.
2. Subscribe for channels on a-la-carte basis.
3. Receipt of the payment made to cable operator.
4. Details of bill under pre-paid subscription
5. Can suspend the services for a period of 1 month to 3 months giving 15days notice in advance during which no subscription charges are payable other than rental charges for STB (if taken on rental basis).
6. If the services to a subscriber has been disconnected by the cable operator, no charges for the period for which the services remain discontinued including  for the charges  for STB  shall be payable  by the subscriber.
7. The consumer can change subscription from pre-paid to post-paid without any extra charge.
8. In case installation  and activation of STB  is delayed beyond two working days  after completion  of all formalities  by the  subscriber, a rebate of Rs. 15/- per day  for  first five  days of delay and Rs. 10/- per day  for delay beyond  5 days  shall be offered  to subscriber
Obligations of Cable operator:
1. All the complaints are to be responded to within 8 hrs. of receipt of the complaint. Complaints received during the night shall be attended by the next day.
2. No complaint shall remain unresolved beyond 3 days.
3. Complaints related to billing shall be redressed within 7 days.
4. Every cable operator shall be required to set up a consumer care centre with toll free number and is to provide a docket no. for each complaint. In addition to consumer care toll free number, the cable operator must have web based complaint monitoring system.
5. The cable operator cannot change the composition of subscription package subscribed by the consumer during first six month period or during the entire period if the charges has been paid in advance. If the channel is not available, the cable operator shall reduce the subscription charges by an amount equivalent to a-la-carte rate of such channels from the date of discontinuance of the channel.
6. Cable operator cannot discontinue any channel without giving 15 days prior notice and such notice shall be published in local newspaper also.
7. Notice for Disruption of TV channel for less than  24 hours :    3 days notice.
                                                  For more than  24 hours           :    15 days notice.
8. The bill shall contain itemized details indicating  the price of individual channel or bouquet  of channels along with the names of channel in the bouquet, charges for the basic tier and the channels comprised their n,  charges  for STB , taxes etc.
9. 15 days’ time period from the date of bill to be provided to each subscriber for making payment of the bill..


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