Your cable or DTH provider cannot charge you more than Rs 350 as installation charge, and not more than Rs 150 as activation charge for a new connection post December 29, 2018. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) new mandate for the broadcast sector caps all installation and activation charges at Rs 500 although your cable or DTH provider may start charging a refundable deposit upfront and aa monthly charge for the set-top-box and other equipment after the new regulatory framework goes into effect.
DTH and cable providers currently charge anywhere between Rs 500-Rs 1,500 for a new connection. This includes installation and activation charges. This often also includes one, two or three months of free subscription, based on the tariff a subscriber chooses to opt for. The said amount is often non-refundable, and DTH and cable providers don’t levy monthly or quarterly equipment rental charges additionally.
“A distributor of television channels or its linked local cable operator, as the case may be, may charge an amount not exceeding rupees three hundred and fifty as a one-time installation charge.. [and] an amount not exceeding rupees one hundred as a one-time activation charge for activating the broadcasting services related to television,” according to TRAI.
The new TRAI order, although it caps the installation and activation charges to Rs 500, allows DTH and cable providers to levy monthly charge for equipment in addition to asking for a refundable deposit during installation and activation of services. The TRAI order says that this refundable deposit will be returned to the subscriber if they inform the service provider of disconnection 15 days in advance.
The order also says that service providers cannot force subscribers into buying specific set-top-boxes. They can choose to buy and use any set-top-box if it passes the requisite quality and technology to access their services.
“It shall be permissible for every subscriber to buy a set top box of approved quality from the open market, if available, which is technically compatible with the system of the Distributor of television channels. The distributor or its linked local cable operator, as the case may be, shall not compel any subscriber to buy or take on rent the set-top box from him alone,” TRAI adds.