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TRAI eases DTH regulation, users will now benefit from reduced tariff

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued new tariff orders and regulations to reduce the regulatory burden on distribution platform operators (DPOs) in response to the migration of pay-TV customers to other platforms. The amendments remove the ceilings of Rs 130 for 200 channels and Rs 160 for more than 200 channels on Network Capacity Fee (NCF) and replace them with a market-driven approach.

Service providers are now allowed to charge different NCFs based on the number of channels, different regions, different customer classes, or any combination thereof.

DPOs can offer discounts of up to 45 percent when forming their bouquets, providing them with more flexibility and allowing them to offer attractive deals to consumers. This is an increase from the previous limit of 15 percent. Additionally, the distinction between HD and SD channels for the purpose of carriage fee has been removed in order to encourage the transmission of high-definition content.

Any pay channel that is available at no subscription fee on the DTH platform of the public service broadcaster must be declared free-to-air by the broadcaster of the channel for all addressable distribution platforms in order to ensure a level playing field. DPOs are now required to declare the tariff of their platform services.

The objectives of these amendments are to facilitate the growth of the broadcasting sector by reducing regulatory mandates and compliance requirements and to provide flexibility to service providers to adopt a market-driven approach while ensuring the interests of consumers and small players are safeguarded through transparency, accountability, and equitability.

These amendments, with the exception of a few clauses, will come into force 90 days from the date of their publication in the official gazette. In 2017, TRAI notified the Regulatory Framework for Broadcasting and Cable Services, which was further adjusted in 2020 and 2022 to address the concerns of stakeholders.

To address ongoing issues, TRAI issued a consultation paper in 2023 to seek stakeholders’ comments. Indiatvnews

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