To prevent prices of a-la-carte channels from becoming illusionary, TRAI laid down conditions; For Multi-TV home, 40% of declared NCF

In view, the implementation of Digital Addressable Systems (DAS) and to enable the sector to realize its benefits, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) published a comprehensive regulatory framework.

The above-stated framework comprises of the following:

  • Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017,
  • Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017, and;
  • Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eighth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff Order, 2017

During the implementation of the above, the intended choice for consumers to select what they want has got scuttled due to various issues.

TRAI has issued:

  • Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Interconnection (Addressable Systems) (Second Amendment) Regulations, 2020
  • Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection (Addressable Systems) (Third Amendment) Regulations, 2020
  • Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eighth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff Order Amendment, 2020

To protect the interests of consumers certain provisions were modified of new regulatory framework.

TRAI prescribed following twin conditions to ensure that the price of a-la-carte channels does not become illusionary:

(i) the sum of the a-la-carte rates of the pay channels (MRP)forming part of a bouquet shall in no case exceed one and half times the rate of the bouquet of which such pay channels are a part; and

ii) the a-la-carte rates of each pay channel (MRP), forming part of a bouquet, shall in no case exceed three times the average rate of a pay channel of the bouquet of which such pay channel is a part.

Channels having MRP of Rs 12 or less will be permitted to be part of the bouquet offered by broadcasters.

With respect to NCF related issues, TRAI mandated provision of 200 channels in maximum NCF of Rs 130 excluding taxes per month.

Channels declared mandatory by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will not be counted in a number of channels in
the NCF.

DPOs have also been mandated that they will not charge more than Rs 160 per month for giving all channels available on their platform.

TRAI has decided, in case of the multi-TV home where more than one TV connection is working in a home in the name of one person, it will charge a maximum 40 per cent of declared NCF for second and additional TV connections.

To address the concern of huge carriage fee, the Authority has mandated that MSOs, HITS operators, IP TV service providers
will not have a target market bigger than State or Union Territory as the case may be.

A cap of Rs 4 lakh per month has been prescribed on carriage fee payable by a broadcaster to a DPO in a month fro carrying a channel in the country.

Authority has also considered giving more flexibility to DPOs to place the TV channels on Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) and mandated that channel of a language in a genre will be kept together while placing channels on EPG.

Conclusion

Amendments provide appropriate time to stakeholders for implementation. Broadcasters are required to publish revised MRP of a-la-carte channels and bouquets on their website by 15th January 2020 and DPO are required to publish revised DRP of a-la-carte channels and bouquets on their website by 30th January 2020.

Consumers will be able to benefit as per the amended provisions with effect from 1st March 2020.

Amendments are expected to result in healthier & structured growth of the Broadcasting and Cable Services sector.

** Please refer to the Official Press Release Note: Press Release


Telecom Regulatory Authority of India

[Press Release dt. 01-01-2020]

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