In a surprise move, TRAI’s new amendment ensures more channels to cable tv users at lower rates!
The TELECOM REGULATORY AUTHORITY OF INDIA (TRAI) just announced has put in a fixed INR 160 as the minimum monthly subscription price for consumers so as to access all free-to-air channels. TRAI has examined various provisions in detail and accordingly mandated provision of 200 channels in maximum NCF of INR 130 excluding taxes per month. These amendments are aimed at making more channels accessible to cable TV users at much lower subscription rates.
In their latest press release, the authoritative body states that, “TRAI has examined various provisions in detail and accordingly mandated provision of 200 channels in maximum NCF (Network Capacity Fee) of INR 130 excluding taxes per month. In addition, it has also been decided that channels declared mandatory by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will not be counted in the number of channels in the NCF. DPOs (Distribution Platform Operators) have also been mandated that they will not charge more than INR 160 per month for giving all channels available on their platform.”
The Authority analysed the comments of the stakeholders particularly to protect the interests of consumers and accordingly modified certain provision of new regulatory framework. In order to address the issue of huge discount in the formation of bouquets by the broadcasters vis-a-vis sum of a-la-carte channels, the Authority prescribed following twin conditions to ensure that 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.
Consumers will be able to benefit as per the amended provisions with effect from March 1, 2020.