DTH

Tata Sky coughs up Rs 561 crore as licence fee for FY 2017-18

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MUMBAI: Direct-to-home operator Tata Sky has paid Rs 561 crore as licence fee to the government for 2017-18 financial year, according to a statement released by the company.

The company paid a total of Rs 2,200 crore in the last fiscal year ended on 31 March 2018. This amount includes GST, state entertainment taxes and some other taxes.

Commenting on the development, TataSky MD & CEO Harit Nagpal said: "With the payment made today, we have paid licence fee, past and current as per specified rates, regardless of pending litigations between the government and the platforms."

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) rules mandate DTH operators to pay 10 per cent of their gross revenue as their annual fee to the government. DTH operators, however, contend that the MIB should charge licence fee based on adjusted gross revenue left after paying several taxes and others.

In 2014, the DTH operator had paid Rs 383 crore to the government as licence fee for the previous fiscal and arrears.

In the same year, the MIB had sent notices asking them to pay licence fee totalling Rs 2,066 crore within 15 days. DTH operators had challenged the licence fee demand in the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) in 2014.

Tata Sky, a joint venture between Tata Sons and 21st Century Fox, has presence across 1.5 lakh towns with over 18 million connections.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has in its recommendations to the MIB said that the DTH licence period should be increased to 20 years while the licence fee should be charged as 8 per cent of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) where AGR is calculated taxes paid to the government.

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