According to the regulatory framework for Digitalised Cable TV brought out by TRAI to safeguard consumers' interests, cable operators will have to mandatorily offer a Basic Service Tier (BST) to viewers throughout the country.
The Basic Service Tier would consist of 100 Free to Air channels including 18 mandatory Doordarshan channels plus the Lok Sabha channel.
The TRAI tariff order lays down that apart from the mandatory channels in the BST, cable operators and Multi System Operators (MSOs) will have to provide customers a minimum of five channels of different genres. The genres which TRAI has named are General Entertainment Channels(GEC) in English, GEC- Hindi, GEC - Regional, Music, News, Movies, Sports, Kids Infotainment, lifestyle.
"The BST shall be mandatorily offered by the cable operator. However it will be optional for the consumer to subscribe," TRAI said in its tariff order.
Customers can also choose another option which includes some pay channels and pay a monthly price upto Rs 150, the TRAI rules state. "If the total value of the channels/ bouquets opted by the subscriber exceeds Rs 150, only then actual subscription charges has to be paid," a press release issued by TRAI said.
These rules will come into force along with the Digitalisation of the cable sector for which the government has already set up a deadline of June 30, 2012 in four metros and December 2014 for the entire country.
TRAI's latest tariff order has also laid down rules on the basis of which channels and bouquets will be priced.