There were various reasons because of which the CAS scheme as notified earlier was not successful.
(1) Consumers interest was not adequately addressed. There were issues pertaining to pricing of pay channels, terms and conditions for procurement and maintenance of Set Top Boxes and lack of standards defining quality of service to consumers.
(2) The implementation of the scheme required a coordinated effort on the part of key stakeholders including Broadcasters, multisystem Operator and Local Cable Operators. But there is an adversarial commercial relationship between these stakeholders. As a result they could not enter into mutual agreements.
(3) For CAS to be really beneficial to subscribers and help him control his budget and exercise his freedom to choose any pay channel, prices of individual channels (a-la-carte) should be declared and known to the subscriber. Broadcasters did not declare their prices on an a-la-carte basis and continued to offer channels in groups/bundles/bouquets thus making the entire scheme infructuous. There was no mechanism or penalties provided to force them to do so.
(4)The cost of the Set Top Boxes was high and the subscriber was being forced to purchase it outright. There was no scheme forcing the Multisystem Operators/ Local Cable Operatos to offer STBs in instalments. Sufficient number of Set Top Boxes were not available. Question of Inter-operability of Set Top Boxes was not adequately addressed which meant that concumer was not in a position to return the Set Top Box in case he changes locality and was required to purchase a new Set Top Box..
(5) No definite and designated roles were assigned for broadcasters, MSOs, independent LCOs, and Government of India. There was no Regulatory Body to look into, regulate and resolve various issues/ relating to various service providers and subscribers.
(6) The burden of implementation of scheme was on Cable Operator, which neither had the wherewithal nor the resources to make the investments required and provide quality services.
(7) The consumer was not aware of either the benefits or the total financial impact on him.
Following steps have been taken to empower the consumer and protect his interests under the new scheme.
(1) TRAI has been assigned the role of the Regulatory Body for Broadcasting services and to issue regulations/orders/directions pertaining to issues relating to Tariff, pricing of pay channels, basic service tier, interconnection issues between various service providers, quality of service standards amongst others. TRAI has since issued various regulations/orders/directions which resolve various issues thus adequately protecting consumers interest.
(2) The Cable Television Networks Rules,1994 have been modified by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to provide for a new scheme of CAS. The salient features of the new scheme are :-
• A well defined implementation schedule delineating specific role/responsibility of various agencies and time period required for each activity to ensure implementation by 31.12.06.
• Provides sufficient safeguards to protect consumer interest and their exploitation
• Main responsibility of implementation put on MSOs and broadcasters.
• Provision of action against them in case of non-compliance.
• Enabling provision for TRAI to take interim measures.
• Fixation of basic service tier by TRAI.
• Detailed steps and methodology for public awareness campaign.
• Authorisation of MSOs to operate in notified areas to be given by Government to operate in notified areas so that the consumer gets the best and to ensure that only persons who can safeguard consumer inerest are allowed to operate.
• Compulsory Set Top Box rental schemes for consumers to be approved by TRAI.
(3) As a result of above initiatives by the Government of India and TRAI the consumer has got the following rights:
• Since the service providers now have to compulsorily provide pay channels on an a-la-carte basis restricted to an MRP of Rs 5/- (exclusive of taxes)per pay channel per month consumer is free to choose any channel/number of channels on an individual basis. In case he finds that bouquets are more lucrative and serve his interests better he can subscribe to bouquets instead but the choice is entirely his own.
• Now he does not have to make an outright purchase of Set Top Boxes. As provided for under rules TRAI has directed that two standard schemes (details given elsewhere in FAQ) for hire-purchase of Set Top Boxes have to be mandatorily offered by MSOs/LCOs. This makes a Set Top Box well within the reach of an ordinary consumer. In addition to these two mandated schemes nothing prevents the MSO/LCO to offer better schemes on instalments basis or outright purchase. In case the consumer finds them to be better he can opt for them. But the choice is entirely his as a consumer.After a period of 5 years you will become the owner of the Set Top Box.
• As provided under rules prices for basic services tier have been fixed by TRAI as Rs. 77/- (exclusive of taxes) per month per connection. Thus cable operators can not arbitrarily decide on the monthly subscription fee except as provide which will include prices fixed for the basic tier plus the price for the pay channel depending on the number of channels subscribed plus monthly rental for the Set Top Box Scheme you have opted for and applicable taxes. The prices will be uniform throughout the CAS notified area.
• To enable you to return your STB taken under any of the mandated schemes in case you are shifting to a new locality or to another MSO/LCO or a DTH service provider or otherwise within a period of five years, it has been provided that the MSO/LCO will have to take it back and give you a refund within the timeperiod prescribed (details elsewhere herein) after deducting a fixed depreciation amount per month of usage. This provides for commercial inter-operability of Set Top Boxes.
• In cases of malfunction of your STB your MSO/LCO has been mandated to to arrange for repair/replacement at no extra cost within 24 hours of receipt of complaint.
• You have been enabled to change your choice of pay channels at any time subject only to the rider that a choice once indicated will have to be paid for at least for four months.
• Whether you want to view pay channels and hence obtain a STB or whether you want to view only free to air channels without obtaining a STB is entirely your choice and nobody can force you to choose either.
• Timelimits have been prescribed to respond to your application for connection, for activation/reactivation/shifting/deactivation of your cable connection, attending to different kinds of customer complaints pertaining to service and billing etc
• No cable operator can disconnect you for whatever reason without giving you a written notice of at least 15 days indicating the specific reasons for disconnection. He can also not change the positioning of the channels without giving you a 3 days notice. This minimizes inconvenience caused by arbitrary action of cable operators.
• To ensure that you are made aware of your rights and duties it is provided that your application form is so designed so that it gives you full details of the scheme. It has also been mandated that an intensive public awareness campaign be launched by permitted MSOs/LCOs starting 15th November on various media platforms. This ensures you have sufficient information available before making a choice and ensure protection of your rights after the choice is made.
• In case of violation of any of the rights conferred to you as an individual consumer you can go seek redressal from Consumer Courts. In case the infringement of rights pertains to groups of consumers against a service provider a petition can also be filed with Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal under section 14 of TRAI Act,1997.
• For each State Nodal Officers also have been nominated to ensure redressal of any implementation problems which can also be approached if need arises.
At your end you are required to complete the following activities to continue viewing pay channel fr0m 31.12.2006.
(i) Contact your local cable operator and enquire fr0m him whether he has made arrangements to implement CAS?
(ii) Apply to him and make requisite deposits for obtaining a STB on Hire-Purchase basis in instalments. Two compulsory schemes have been mandated by TRAI (a) An initial refundable security Deposit of Rs.999/- plus Rs 30/- per month OR
(b) An initial refundable security Deposit of Rs.250/- plus Rs 45/- per month
You may opt for any of the above two schemes or any other scheme offered by the LCO/MSO or go for an outright purchase. The choice is entirely yours as a consumer. LCO cannot charge anything for activation, installation, smart cards, and repairs (upto five years)
(iii) Enquire fr0m your LCO/MSO which channels are FTA and which are Pay. The TRAI website also gives details of channels declared by broadcasters as pay channels in CAS areas. You don’t have to take any bouquets if you don’t desire. You can order pay channels on individual (a-la-carte) basis. The choice is entirely yours as consumers.
(iv) If your LCO/MSO is not prepared to implement CAS or has not made adequate arrangements or is not willing to give you STB on rental basis or pay channels on a-la-carte basis, then inform the Nodal Officer of the State indicated below.
(v) Your monthly recurring expenses will consist of payment of Rs 77/- for the basic service tier of a minimum of 30 FTA channels, plus a maximumof Rs 5/- per pay TV channel you select, plus the monthly instalment of Rs 30/ or 45/- depending on the scheme you choose for obtaining STB exclusive of taxes.
(vi) You are expected to indicate your preference for STB rental scheme and pay channels fr0m 15th October onwards. Please make sure that you give your choice, pay the necessary deposit etcwell in time so that LCO/MSO has time to give you the channels under CAS with effect fr0m 31.12.2006. If your LCO/MSO fails to supply the channels by 31.12.06, please inform the nodal officer.
In the Kolkata Metropolitan Area, the areas whose northern boundary is the eastern bank of the river Hooghly up to the confluence with Tolly’s Nalla on the right; eastern boundary is the line along the western bank of Tolly’s Nalla starting fr0m its confluence with river Hooghly in the north, running south down along the Tolly’s Nalla/Kaorapukur Khal to the mouzas of Magurkhali; Southern Boundary is along the line following the southern boundaries of mouzas Magurkhali, Ramjibanpur, Sajnaberia, Gopalnagar, Kalua, Hanspukuria area within Police Station Behala proceeding towards the southern boundaries of mouzas Kalagachhia, Sankharipota, Naoabad, Khanberia, Chandigar, Shibhugli and Rameshwarpur within Police Station Maheshtola.
Thereafter the same line following the southern boundaries of mouzas Betuabi Rajarampur, Santoshpur, Uttar Raipur, Benjan Haria Charial, Eastern and southern mouzas of Nischintapur and southern boundaries of mouzas of Uttar Ramchandrapur, Raghunathpur, Rajarampur, Achhipur within Police Station Budge Budge.
And then proceeding further westward in a straight line and meeting the western boundary-line of District 24 Parganas in the river Hooghly; and western boundary is the line along the east bank of river Hooghly starting fr0m the confluence of Tolly’s Nalla running south-south-west where it meets the line of District 24 Parganas in the river Hooghly.
2. City: Mumbai-------Nodal Officer: Smt. Sheela Sail, D.C.P. (Enforcement) Mumbai Police Commissioner Campus, (Opposite Mahatama Phule Market), Mumbai-400001. Telephone: 022-22692515 Fax: 022-22620043
3. City: Kolkata-------Nodal Officer: Shri Abhijit Sanyal, Jt Secretary & Ex Officio Director of Film, I&CA Department, Government of West Bengal , Writers Buildings , Kolkata-700001 Telephone: 033-22145943 Fax: 033-22143776
4. City: Chennai-------Nodal Officer: Shri R. Thiagrajan, IAS Additional Secretary (Home) Government of Tamil Nadu, Secretariat ,Fort St George, Chennai. Telephone: 044-25679169 Fax: 044-25670596
The following options are available to the subscriber:
i) A subscriber is free to get a Set Top Box on a rental basis from the Multi System Operator under a Standard Tariff Package prescribed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority or under any alternative tariff package offered by the multi system operator. The details of the Standard Tariff Package are given elsewhere in this FAQs.
ii) A subscriber is also free to buy outright the set top boxes from the Multi system operator.
iii) A subscriber can opt to purchase a set top box outright from the open market if available. It has to be ensured that it is as per the specifications of Bureau of Indian Standards and technically compatible with the multi system operator’s system.
The subscriber will need two set top boxes if he has two TVs at home, otherwise with one set top box connected to two TVs, he will be able to watch only one programme at any give point of time on the two TVs.
As far as subscription amounts for pay channels/free to air channels are concerned, the tariff fixed by TRAI is on per connection (i.e. per TV) basis. However, a lower subscription for the second TV in a home is possible at the option of the service providers (i.e. broadcasters, MSOs and cable operators).
The following benchmarks are to be observed in regard to the redressal of complaints:
i) All complaints will be attended or at least responded within eight hours of receipt of complaint, except those received during the night which will be attended to the next day and satisfaction report obtained fr0m subscriber. Where it is not possible to attend /respond to the complaint within this time limit, the response should indicate the anticipated time for redressal of the complaint. If it is not feasible to comply with the benchmarks indicated hereafter for reasons beyond the control of the cable operator /MSO, the reasons for the same will be communicated to the subscriber, while responding to the complaint.
ii) A system of rebates in the form of discounts to the subscriber due to interruptions on account of no signal or weak signal or disruption of service, will be put in place by the cable operator or MSO, as the case may be, and the subscriber should be made aware of the same.
52. Whether a notice has to be given for disruption in service ?
The following procedure will normally be followed for raising of bills, delivery of bills and collection of payments thereof:
i) In respect of subscriber opting to watch pay channels through a set top box, a single bill will be generated by the MSO, indicating the charges for pay channels as well as charges for channels forming part of the basic service tier .The subscriber should be required to make only one payment.
ii) In respect of subscribers who do not opt to watch pay channels through the set top box, the monthly bill will be raised for FTA channels and the proceeds collected by the cable operator. The billing system should be such that the following benchmarks are met:
iii) Complaints relating to billing will be addressed within 7 days of notice fr0m the subscriber.
iv) Refunds must be issued within 30 days following the resolution of the complaint or before the next billing cycle whichever is earlier.
No right click