TRAI’s pay-per-view system for TV and DTH users was supposed to change the way we consumed broadcast content but the transition has not been smooth for consumers. Ahead of its roll out, there was looming confusion around the timeline and packages available on different platforms. When it became official and mandatory, all the existing DTH customers were left fumbling to get new plans. The worst hit were those who has already subscribed to long term plans with their DTH operator.
While DTH operators, in consultation with TRAI, have been trying to bring back long terms plans, and compensate to those who had already planned to such long term packs, there is a new roadblock in place. The Delhi High Court has announced a stay on migration of all long term plans under old tariff regime. The High Court has placed a stay on all long term plans and the verdict will affect all DTH users. The verdict has nullified a suggestion from TRAI, which prohibited customers who had paid for long term plans under older regime, to continue taking benefit.
According to Trak.in, Tata Sky, India’s 2nd biggest DTH operator, played a pivotal role in convincing Delhi High Court to pass this verdict. Delhi High Court’s Division Bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V Kameshwar Rao passed the order forcing all DTH operators from offering or activating long term plans for their customers. The order particularly mentions that no DTH user can be migrated to the old tariff plan in the name of long terms plans. The verdict will affect existing DTH users who had subscribed to long term plans previously.
The issue of long term validity plans has been a talking point since the start of the new TV regime by TRAI. Under the Best Fit arrangement, TRAI advised that those who had subscribed to long term plans, can be refunded back and then moved into the new tariff plan. On May 1, 2019, TRAI issued a new order where it said that DTH users can opt in for long term plans under the old tariff, which defeated its own plan in the first place.
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Tata Sky immediately objected to this announcement from TRAI and filed a petition with the Delhi High Court. “The TRAI now by way of the Direction dated 01.05.2019 is attempting to once again upset this position and arbitrarily reverse provision of services to subscribers as per the old Agreements which are in existence anymore,” it said in the petition. It also said that since refunds had been given to customers, going back to old regime would create chaos among DTH users. The next hearing on this issue is now scheduled for July 11.