Technology

Apex court stays Tdsat order on cable tariff, raises rates to 42%

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has stayed the directive by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (Tdsat) setting aside the notification by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) fixing 35 per cent of the rates paid by cable operators for TV channels.


The Apex court has ordered a new tariff formula for all digital addressable platforms, which is 42 per cent of the non-CAS tariffs.
 
Justices RV Raveendran and AK Patnaik, while hearing the case, also said the current agreements between the DTH operators and broadcasters shall continue.


The order came on a petition filed by Trai against the order of the Appellate body. Earlier, broadcasters charged from DTH and IPTV players 50 per cent of what they got from cable operators.


In its order, Tdsat had set aside Trai‘s notification mandating that broadcasters charge from DTH and IPTV providers only up to 35 per cent of rates paid by cable operators for their channels. The Tdsat order had come on a petition moved on 23 August by leading broadcasters including Zee Turner, Viacom18, Sun TV and Star Den Media Services.


However, the bench today increased the price band and fixed it to 42 per cent of the cable price to be charged by the broadcasters from the DTH operators. 
 
Trai had on 21 July last year notified that a new wholesale tariff structure would be effective from 1 September 2010, whereby broadcasters can charge only at 35 per cent of rates that they charged from normal cable operators while supplying service providers on platforms such as DTH, IPTV and HITS.


In separate petitions filed with Tdsat, ESPN Software India, MSM Discovery, Zee Turner and Star Den Media Services said the Trai tariff was not commercially viable. The broadcasters had submitted that Trai had acted in an arbitrary and unreasonable manner and did not consider the suggestions of the stakeholders.


Tdsat Chairperson SB Sinha and members GD Gaiha and PK Rastogi in their order had said Trai should start the process of tariff fixation upon taking the relevant factors into consideration afresh and should for the purpose of laying down tariffs undertake a detailed study of the same.

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