New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked satellite and cable TV operators to come up with a new channel selection and pricing system by January 31 bringing relief to the viewers who were paying through the nose for channels they do not even watch. 

Currently, customers are paying up to Rs 60 for popular channels individually, but the TRAI has fixed an upper ceiling of Rs 19 per channel from February 1. 

In the new system, customers will also be spared from paying for unwatched channels in a specific plan. This means that customers can now pick and choose the channels they want to watch and pay only for them. According to reports, though channel packs will still be available, customers will not be obliged to subscribe to them. 

In 2017, the TRAI had notified the cable TV operators about the new regulatory framework. They were re-notified again on July 3, 2018. According to the implementation schedule, all the service providers were required to complete the process for migration to the new framework by December 28, 2018, as the new framework would have come into force the next day.

The subscription prices submitted to the TRAI by DTH and cable operators in December are up to four to five times lower than the listed prices. 

In order to facilitate all service providers to migrate their subscribers from the old to the new framework without causing inconvenience, the TRAI, after consultations with broadcasters, DTH operators, and MSOs (multi-system operators), has given them more time to seek options from subscribers for smooth and interruption-free migrations.

"All existing packs/plans/bouquets to the subscribers will continue uninterrupted till January 31, 2019. No service provider to disconnect any signal or feed to any MSO/LCO (local cable operator)/subscriber till January 2019," the TRAI said in a statement.

With inputs from PTI