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Trai sets service quality norms for cable operators
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NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has issued regulations that seek to improve the quality of service (QoS) provided by cable TV operators in the non-Cas areas.

The regulation, which will be effective from 1 April, has made it compulsory for cable operators to issue bills and receipts to its subscribers.

The sector regulator has also addressed issues like procedure for connection, disconnection and reconnection; setting up mandatory redressal system; maintaining a record of complaints; maintaining technical standards like measurable signal strength and six-hour power backup.

"Every cable operator or MSO will have to give every subscriber the bill for the charges due for each. The bill should contain the detail of total number of pay and free-to-air channels provided by the cable operator or MSO, and for every payment the cable operator or MSO has to issue a signed receipt to the consumer," Trai said.

There are over 80 million consumers receiving cable TV services from 60,000 cable operators in non-Cas areas. No formal regulations for QoS existed in the wake of a "highly fragmented nature of cable TV sector and because of implementation difficulties at ground level."

As per the regulation, every cable operator/MSO will have to establish a help desk for the purposes of receiving cable service requests, answering queries, receiving complaints and redressal of grievances of its subscribers. And the help desk should be accessible to the subscribers from 8 am to 8 pm.

Every cable operator or MSO will have to maintain a record of complaints and will have to maintain the record for at least three months from the date of registration of the complaint. Also, cable operators and MSO will have to present such records whenever called upon by the authority.

Representatives of the cable operator or MSO will have to carry proper photo identification while visiting the premises of subscribers.

The regulations also deal with other issues like standards for provisioning of digital decoders and set-top-boxes (STBs) for voluntary Cas, compulsory technical standards to be observed by the cable operators, including a good quality, measurable signal strength at subscriber's end, maintaining six-hour power backup, and monitoring of QoS standards.

Trai had earlier set QoS norms for the cable TV service in Cas (conditional access system) areas and for the DTH industry.

Trai had earlier issued a consultation paper on quality of service for cable TV services in non-Cas areas on 1 December, 2008.

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