TRAI QOS REGULATION 2017
On March 3, the TRAI declared its "The Telecommunication (Broadcasting & Cable) Services Standards Of Quality Of Service And Consumer Protection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017."
TRAI has issued Quality of Service (QoS) regulations from time to time for protection of consumers, and provide information of their choice of subscriptions.
Salient points of the new QoS regulation include:
1. Common Standards applicable to Cable TV, HITS, DTH & IPTV.
2. Channel Info, subscription rates etc. must be displayed in a standardised format only, in the Electronic Program Guide (EPG).
3. No price limit for sale or hire of STBs / Customer Premises Equipment (CPE).
Highlights of specific details are:
♣ Every distributor must, before providing services, set up & operationalise their Subscriber Management System (SMS) with CAS to ensure efficient & error-free distribution to subscribers.
♣ Distributor must have a website & toll free telephone service for customer care.
♣ Must offer a-la-carte channels & bouquets.
♣ During commencement, consumer must be informed MRP, Network Capacity Fee, CPE, security deposit, rentals, warranty & ownership of customer premises equipment.
♣ Must obtain a completed Consumer Application Form (in Hindi, English & the Regional language).
♣ Each consumer's Unique Identification Number must be mentioned in the bill.
♣ One-time installation charge to new subscribers cannot exceed Rs. 350.
♣ One time activation charge cannot exceed Rs. 100.
♣ Subscribed services cannot be changed without the consumer's written confirmation, which must be retained for atleast 3 months.
♣ Service must be activated / de-activated within 72 hours of receiving details and payment. Deactivation may be denied by the network if its earlier than the lock-in period.
♣ Any change in channel or bouquet availability must be conveyed atleast 15 days in advance, via scroll on the relevant channel, as well as be displayed on the customer's "Consumer Corner" website page.
♣ Consumer to be refunded a pro-rata amount in case a channel is withdrawn by the network.
♣ No service can be withdrawn by the network within the lock in period if payment has been completed.
♣ Consumers can request upto 3 months temporary suspension of service, every year. Only CPE rentals applicable during this period.
♣ Subscribers suspended for more than 3 months are not active subscribers.
♣ Reactivation fee cannot exceed Rs. 25 for active & Rs. 100 for inactive subs.
♣ For Relocation of a customer, the service provider can charge twice the installation fee if relocation requires dismantling of outdoor equipment (eg DTH Dish) & reinstallation at the new location.
♣ Consumer must receive 3 days prior notice for preventive maintenance.
BILLING AND PAYMENT
♣ Consumers must be offered pre-paid or post-paid options for their subscriptions & can switch from one to the other.
♣ Post-paid bill must be generated via the SMS within 7 days, and delivered to the consumer within 15 days of the end of the billing cycle.
♣ Post-paid billing must be for each calendar month. Pre-paid bills are for 30 days.
♣ The post-paid bill must separately list: (a) Network Capacity Fee (b) CPE rental (c) Subscribed Pay channel & bouquets charges.
♣ The service provider can suspend services to a consumer for non-payment, and charge interest on delayed payments & an activation fee to resume service.
♣ Receipts (printed or electronic, as per consumer's preference) must be issued with 7 days of payment & must contain a serial number, date and amount of payment.
♣ Networks can be fined upto Rs. 25 per subscriber, for not adhering to specified practices.
CUSTOMER PREMISES EQUIPMENT (CPE)
♣ Every STB must conform to BIS Standards: IS-15245 (2002) or IS-16128 (2013) for CATV & HITS & IS-15377 (2003) or IS-15954 (2012) for DTH ♣ Consumer is free to buy STBs from the open market if available.
♣ Networks must offer STBs / CPE on a choice of:
Bundled (e.g. with Network Capacity Fee).
Details of these schemes must be published on the network's website. Outright purchase must include a 1 year warranty. A post warranty annual maintenance scheme must also be offered.
♣ There is no limit to the price of the CPE or for its post warranty contract.
♣ There is no specified maximum rental charge for the CPE.
♣ CPE can also be offered against an interest free deposit. Such CPE ownership continues with the service provider.
♣ DTH platforms can charge upto Rs. 250 per visit for non STB service.
♣ STBs must be replaced or repaired within 24 hours.
CUSTOMER CARE AND COMPLAINT REDRESSAL
♣ Before providing service, a Customer Care Centre must be established for service and redressals. It must have:
♦ Toll Free Customer care Number
♦ 8 am to 10 pm ACCESS all days.
♦ Service in Hindi, English & Regional language
♦ Interactive Voice Response System.
♦ Web based complaint management.
♣ No Signal complaints must be redressed within 8 working hours.
♣ Distributor must appoint 1 nodal officer in each state for complaint redressal.
♣ Distributor must retain all complaint records for 3 months, including: docket number, name & address, date & time, type of complaint and redressal date and time with subscriber's OK.
♣ Distributor must maintain a website providing all relevant info to subscribers.
♣ The website Home page must prominently provide a hyperlink to a "Consumer Corner" providing web-access to each consumer, via user name & password, to the following details: Subscriber Name, address, phone, email, Aadhar no. etc.,
Subscribed services, channels, bouquets, validity, lock in period
Selected CPE scheme,
Bill details /billing cycle/Account balance/ Dues,
6 months Usage with option to print
Bill Payment guidelines,
6 month payment details
Complaint registering and status monitoring,
Toll free number & contact details,
♣ Broadcasters must list the MRP of all their pay channels & bouquets on their website & WITH periodic scrolls on the channel.
♣ Disconnection notices by broadcasters & distributors cannot occupy full or partial screen size. They must be on the bottom of the screen, to avoid interfering with the viewing experience.
The detailed QoS Regulations are available on the TRAI website, for reference. n