Trai issues Tariff Orders for STBs/CPEs for DTH and cable TV operators

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) late last evening issued two tariff orders prescribing standard tariff package for set top boxes (STBs) for digital addressable cable TV systems (DAS) and Consumer Premises Equipments (CPEs) for Direct to Home (DTH) services. The prime objective of these tariff orders, TRAI says, is to ensure effective commercial interoperability.

The said tariff orders have been devised to make available STBs / CPEs at a reasonable price and, lucid and easy to understand, terms and conditions as well as to take care of the interests of the service providers. This would also promote healthy competition amongst the operators which would ultimately benefit all the stakeholders of the sector, including the consumers.The standard tariff packages for STB/CPE on rental basis are to be offered mandatorily by DTH and cable TV operators.

As per the two tariff orders issued and notified on 27 May, cable TV operators and DTH service providers will be in a position to provide four options to consumers with differing rental and security deposit plans. DAS service providers can provide the STBs at a monthly rent of Rs 55.66 or Rs 50.66 (excluding taxes) if the security deposit is Rs 400 and Rs 800 respecitvely. For DTH service providers, the monthly rent for the CPE has been mandated at Rs 71.75 and Rs 65.50 if the security deposit is Rs 500 and Rs 1000 respectively.

The entire security deposit will be refunded to subscribers at the end of three years and the STB or CPE will belong to the customer. Should the customer choose to clip the service earlier under these options, he will still get the entire STB security depost refunded.

The tariff orders have also given options where the security depost is adjustable against the monthly rent. Thus DAS service providers can offer the STBs at a monthly adjustable rent of Rs 46.80 or Rs 32.93 if the security deposit is Rs 400 and Rs 800 respectively. And DTH service providers can provide STBs at a monthly adjustable rent of Rs 60.66 and Rs 43.32 if the security deposit is Rs 500 and Rs 1000. Under these options, should the customer choose to exit the DTH or CAS service, he will be entitled to a refund depending on the month he is discontinuing the service.

For instance, if he moves out in month twelfth of year one of the Rs 500 adjustable security deposit plan for DTH, he will be entitled to get a refund of Rs 370.18. If the exit takes place in month 24 the refund amount has been drawn up to be Rs 192.05.The TRAI has similarly drawn up tables which clearly spell out how much the refund would be. The two orders which clearly explain this are called The Telecommunication (Broadcasting & Cable) Services Sixth - (The Direct to Home Services) Tariff order 2013 and The Telecommunication (Broadcasting & Cable)Fifth - (Digital Addressable Cable TV Systems) Tariff Order 2013 TARIFF ORDER, 2013 and have been made available on the TRAI web site

To see the standard tariff plan for DTH Click Here

To see the standard tariff plan for DAS Click Here

The charges which have been mandated by TRAI include the installation fee, activation fee, smart card viewing charges, and repair and maintenance for three years.

The regulator has said that, while these packages are mandatory, service providers can also make other offers to subscribers.It has also stated that these specific packages are prescribed for "plain vanilla STBs/CPEs" and not for the exotic ones with recorders and HD and 3D STBs.

The Standard Tariff Package for Cable TV operators has been worked out on the basis of the following facts and figures as provided by the Industry stakeholders/ Associations:-

a) The total cost of STB has been taken as Rs 1750.

b) Life span of STB has been taken as three years.

c) The residual value has been taken as nil.

d) Rental per month is based on cost of STB on Equated Monthly Installment (EMI) Basis @15 per cent per annum (@1.25 per cent per month) for a period of 36 months.

The Standard Tariff Package for DTH operators has been worked out on the basis of the following facts and figures as provided by Industry stakeholders/ Associations;

a) The total cost of CPE has been taken as Rs 2250.

b) Life span of CPE has been taken as three years.

c) The residual value has been taken as nil.

d) Rental per month is based on cost of CPE on Equated Monthly Installment (EMI) Basis @15 per cent per annum (@1.25 per cent per month) for a period of 36 months.

In case of un-installation/discontinuance of service before the last day of the month, balance security deposit shown as refundable at the end of that month will be refunded on return of Customer Premises Equipment.

No installation charges or re-installation charges (except in case of shifting of connection) or activation charges or smartcard/ viewing card charges is to be levied by the DTH operator/or DAS service provider on the subscriber.

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