TRAI asks MSOs to generate itemised usage details for cable

Tags: News
Taking the reforms in the cable broadcast sector a step ahead, the sectoral regulator TRAI has directed Multi System Operators (MSOs) to offer both pre-paid and post-paid payment options, and generate itemised monthly usage details for customers in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.

Issuing a direction, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has asked the MSOs to "offer cable TV services to its subscribers on both pre-paid and post-paid payment options and generate bills for subscriber."

Moreover, the bills should be sent to the customers by itself or through the local cable operator within 15 days of the month.

"Give to every subscriber the bill, on regular basis, for charges due and payable for each month or for any other agreed period and the bill for the period ending the 30th November, 2013 shall be given to the subscriber latest by the 15th December, 2013, as per the billing cycle agreed between the parties," the regulator said.

As per the TRAI directive, the itemised bill would have the details of the price of channels or bouquet of channels along with the name of channels in the bouquet, charges for basic tier and channels comprised therein, charges for set-top-box.

It would also have details of the value added service, the details of taxes along with the rate of taxes and service tax registration number and entertainment tax registration number of the MSOs.

TRAI has also mandated the MSOs to ensure that a proper receipt is given to the subscriber by it or by its linked local cable operator for every payment made by them.

It has also asked MSOs to "provide to the pre-paid subscriber, at a reasonable cost, the information relating to the itemized usage charge showing actual usage of service."

The MSOs of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata Metropolitan area had to submit a compliance report by December 31.

Commenting on the development, MSO Alliance Secretary and DEN Networks CEO S N Sharma said: "This move is important as it will ensure that there are no additional or random charges levied on the subscribers".

Viewers will thus pay only for what they watch and they must insist on a bill from their local cable operator or multiple system operator at the time of monthly payment, he further added.

The MSO Alliance has also launched an advertisement campaign through print media and cable television channels to spread awareness about the monthly billing system, he added.

MSO Alliance is an association of major cable television distribution industry players DEN Networks, Hathway, SITI Digital Cable Television and INCABLENET.

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