Respite for Cable TV subscribers as ACN to introduce new pricing framework

Report by: 
ROOPA LALL
Port Blair
13 Jun 2017

Implementation of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai) pricing framework for Cable TV rates notified earlier this year is set to bring huge respite for thousands of households across these islands. As per the revised policy, Cable TV subscribers will now have to pay only Rs130 per month to access 100 standard definition television channels, while Andaman Cable Network has also announced new packages for subscribers for which the last date for submission of applications is June 15.
“The move will have complete transparency and ensure protection of consumer interest. There will be no discrimination in prices. Until now, broadcasters and distribution platform operators (DPOs) had the upper hand in deciding prices of channels to be charged from subscribers, who will now be free to choose channels of their choice as per the rates prescribed by the government. Parents, in particular, will heave a sigh of relief as their wards will not have access to unwanted TV channels at home,” said some parents speaking to EOI.
When contacted, one of the directors of Andaman Cable Network, Mr R Binu informed that in view of demand for Hindi channels in these islands, almost all Hindi entertainment channels have been kept in a single package at nominal charges and those opting for more will have to pay extra for subscription. “For instance, if a customer intends to subscribe for Bengali channels, he will have to subscribe for Hindi channels as well. In the base fare category, subscribers will have access to all Hindi channels for Rs 130 per month except for those on Star Plus and Life OK network. Customers will have to pay Rs 70 extra for any other channel of their choice.”
Mr R Binu, however, claimed that the pricing policy may cause loss to broadcasters. “The move will surely benefit subscribers and cable TV operators as they will have to pay only for the channels subscribed. Compared to all India basis, broadcasters providing services in these islands may suffer loss. For instance, there are minimal takers for Diamond, Platinum packages in which regional language channels are also available,” adding that the pricing policy will be initially implemented in the South Andaman region and subsequently extended to other parts of these islands.