Few days back Mobile Number Portability(MNP) was introduced in India which benefited many mobile phone consumers . With MNP it became convenient for consumers to dump their existing mobile phone operator and switch to their favorite.
After Mobile now its the (Direct-To-Home) DTH network following its path. Now you don’t need to change your Set-Top-Box (STB) while changing your DTH operator anywhere in India.
Currently, there are more than 17 lakh subscribers to DTH service providers across India for TV content. This is a good news for those who keep complaining or would like to switch to another network.
A petition filed in the Tamil Nadu Progressive Consumer Centre, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal, New Delhi, has led the Centre to order this change in not later than two months from the date of submission of recommendations by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
According to the petition: “…The hardware bought from the former operator would go for scrap and the consumer is compelled to buy another set of new hardware. On inquiry, we understood that the STBs are designed as proprietary in nature so as to suit their DTH network alone.”
To prevent the environmental damage caused by the disposal of old STBs (an estimated two million “dead boxes”), the petition mentioned:
“Our enquiry has revealed that the above issue of non-interoperability is not only an unethical business practice but also a gross violation of the terms and conditions of the licenses issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and contravention of the Quality of Service Regulations of TRAI,” it added.
Currently, Sun Direct, Big TV, Airtel Digital, Tata Sky and Videocon D2H all offer Dish-to-Home services, and an average DTH installation costs DTH equipment Rs 1500 to Rs 7000.
In the judgment, Justice S B Sinha stated that TRAI’s recommendation to the Centre mentioned that interoperability (the ability to keep using your STB even after you’ve changed your operator) should be retained according to new standards laid down by the Bureau of Indian Standards in six months.
“It is a victory for the consumer because we have been fighting for this for the last five years. These DTH operators are all giants and it is difficult for us to point out these issues to the TRAI and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. We hope these types of service deficiencies will not happen in the future,”
said P Sadagopan, vice-president, Tamil Nadu Progressive Consumer Centre.