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Cable TV operators have protested the unbundling of channel bouquet

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Trichy: Cable TV operators have protested the unbundling of channel bouquet and making them all ala carte in line with regulator TRAI’s recommendation that each consumer can choose just the channel he wants to watch and need not pay for the entire bouquet, which operators bundle up. They said TV viewing would become costlier as the free to air channels will turn into pay mode.

Staging a demonstration near Trichy district collector office, nearly 500 operators out of 800 members of Tamil Nadu Cable TV operators Association (TCOA), Trichy region, sought the revocation of the order by TRAI. TRAI had said that effective January 1, all channels should be sold as a single offering and not sold as bouquet, which is prevalent now.

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“The concept of making choice of channels a la carte will not serve its purpose because several free channels plan to convert into pay-channels instead of telecasting them for free in the basic pack recommended by TRAI. They also hike their price up to Rs 19 per channel thus making a customer to shell out more than double,” said district president of Trichy of TCOA B Vishnuvardhan.

Operators said that have been offering 300 channels including 200 free channels and 80 pay channels for around Rs 170 to Rs 300 per month in city and rural areas. The a la carte system for watching TV channels of present pack will be around Rs 800 excluding 18 % of GST .

As per the basic pack recommended by TRAI, a consumer should pay Rs 153 per month but many of their favourite channels will not be in the pack forcing the consumers to go for pay-channels. Vishnuvardhan also alleged that pay channels failed to comply with the TRAI rules of not telecasting advertisements during program. “If they become pay channels, there should be no advertisements between the programs.” he said.

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