Trai extends time for stakeholder views on DTH tariff

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) today extended till 5 February the time for stakeholders to send their views on a supplementary consultation paper specifically dealing with certain aspects of tariff related issues for basic and add-on packages in case of DTH services.

The supplementary consultation paper is in continuation with the consultation paper issued on “DTH Issues relating to Tariff Regulation & new issues under reference” dated 6 March this year and was issued after an order of the Tdsat.
After giving the necessary background, Trai had sought the views of stakeholders by 18 January 2010. But following representations from stakeholders and considering the importance of the issue, the sector regulator decided to extend the time. Those stakeholders who have submitted their comments on earlier occasions regarding issues raised in the consultation paper dated 6 March 2009 may also submit their revised comments or supplement their earlier comments.

Among other questions, Trai has asked whether there is a need to differentiate various packages for the purpose of wholesale tariff determination, whether there is a need for different wholesale price formulation for a TV channel/bouquet depending upon its inclusion in different packages offered to the subscribers by the DTH operators, whether the wholesale price is to be linked with packaging of the TV channels and what should be the relationship between wholesale prices of a TV channel/bouquet offered by a broadcaster to a DTH operator, if the channel/bouquet is packaged as a part of a basic package, or as a part of add-on-package or both by a DTH operator.

Answers have also sought on whether DTH operator should extend a-la-carte mode of service provisioning of a TV channel at the level of subscriber, can the DTH operator offer a-la-carte option as one of the entry level options for subscribers, and if the DTH operators are required to make available the channels on ala-carte basis to the subscriber, then what could be the minimum number of channels and/or minimum subscription price and/or minimum subscription period for subscribing to the channels. 
In case of a-la-carte provision to the subscribers, Trai wants to know if there should be a maximum permitted time frame for servicing request of a DTH subscriber, and whether there is need to identify relationship between wholesale and retail price of that channel.

Trai also wants to know why a DTH operator should not extend a-la-carte mode of service provisioning of a TV channel at the level of subscriber, and whether the DTH operator can offer a-la-carte option as one of the entry level options for the subscribers and what should be the minimum number of channels and/or minimum subscription price and/or minimum subscription period for subscribing to the channels.

At the outset, Trai notes that there has been substantial growth in DTH services in the country in last 2-3 years. It has become a major addressable service in distribution of TV signals to the viewers across the country.

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