Trai moves SC against Tdsat order on cable pricing

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has moved the Supreme Court to protect its tariff order on cable TV pricing that was overturned by a Tdsat ruling.

A bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan refused to stay the order passed by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Court, but directed the parties to maintain the status quo till 27 February, the notified date of hearing.

On 15 January, the Tdsat had dismissed Trai‘s tariff order relating to a ceiling on cable TV services charges across the country on the basis of the regulator violating principles of transparency.

Stating that the tribunal‘s verdict will have tremendous impact on consumers and the broadcasting and the Cable TV services industry, Trai said that the tariff order which had been in existence for more than a year should be continued as it had been successfully implemented.

The tariff order had provided protection to about 80 million households in a very transparent and reasonable manner by stipulating ceilings on the monthly cable TV charges, senior counsel Harish Salve stated.

Around 30 million new households would be deprived of tariff protection and would be at the mercy of service providers and "there is a strong likelihood of arbitrary hikes in cable TV charges", the regulator submitted.


On 4 October, 2007, Trai had issued a circular proposing a price band of Rs 132-260 for cable services based on a classification of cities and the number of pay channels provided by MSOs.

Besides, Trai had allowed MSOs to take channels from broadcasters on a la carte basis which was widely opposed by broadcasters like Zee, Star, Sony and Sun.

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