SC asks Trai to fix non-Cas cable tariff by 30 June

MUMBAI: The Supreme Court has given the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) time till 30 June to fix tariffs for cable TV operators in non-Cas (conditional access system) areas.

Trai has to take into account the plea of all the stakeholders, including the broadcasters and the multi-system operators (MSOs), a three-judge bench headed by chief justice KG Balakrishnan pointed out.
Broadcasters had earlier expressed dissatisfaction over the accounting systems of the last mile operators while stating that their companies were being properly audited. Trai was looking into the financial details of the entire value chain before it could arrive at a proper non-Cas pricing.

Trai had sought time to complete the exercise of tariff fixation on the ground that the stakeholders were delaying furnishing of financial details.

The cable TV trade was highly fragmented with around 60,000 local cable operators, 6,000 MSOs and 173 broadcasters excluding Prasar Bharati with nearly 80 million subscribers. The pricing policy for cable services had, thus, to be considered in a holistic manner with DTH services 
ITrai had said that the tariff fixation exercise for non-Cas areas would likely to be concluded by 31 May.

“The applicant authority is seeking time to complete the tariff regulation exercise in respect of DTH services alongside the finalisation of the eventual tariff dispensation for the non-CAS cable distribution sector,” the sector regulator added.

The regulator’s application seeking time on fixation of DTH tariff is scheduled to come up for hearing before the apex court on 22 January.

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