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NTO 3.0 getting derailed

The Kerala High Court Wednesday postponed the hearing in the case filed by All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF) against the implementation of the amended new tariff order to February 22. The court did not pass any interim order.

The members of All India Digital Cable Federation barring Siti Cable were waiting for Wednesday’s court order before they took any decision on complying with the provisions of NTO 3.0.

Last month, AIDCF had requested HC to issue directions to TRAI to examine and fix the maximum retail price for television channels genre-wise and with a maximum cap on the price of any channel in order to ensure the orderly growth of the digital cable television sector as mandated by the TRAI Act, 1997.

The federation had told the court that TRAI has failed to consider and address the foremost challenge faced by the entire broadcasting and cable services industry and that there is a trend of constant decline in the subscriber base for MSOs and DTH operators.

In the last hearing, the court indicated that it was not inclined to pass any interim order staying the amendment and also declined to pass any order after hearing detailed arguments, listing the hearing for February 8.

More than 80% of operators across the country have already signed up with broadcasters under the new pricing regime. Disney Star, Sony and Zee have sent a list of 775 MSOs, 700 MSOs and 715 MSOs, respectively to TRAI who have signed and implemented NTO 3.0. Even DTH Players like Tata Play, Dish TV and Airtel Digital TV have signed agreements to implement NTO 3.0.

For TRAI, the legal position is that the regulation has already come into force and the industry has to abide by it if the High Court refused any stay on the implementation.

AIDCF has maintained that NTO 3.0 will have a negative impact on their end customers and subscribers. BCS Bureau

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