Trai proposes tariff rate on STBs

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has proposed that cable TV service providers in conditional access system (CAS) areas to offer digital set-top boxes (STBs) on a monthly rental scheme of Rs 30 and a refundable security deposit of Rs 999.

Subscribers will also have the other option to take the permanent rental scheme with no security deposit. But the monthly rent in this case would be higher. They also have the choice of subscribing to analogue boxes.

Under the first scheme, the regulator has said that subscribers would own the box after five years and no monthly rentals would have to be paid after that.

In case of a period before five years, the multi system operator (MSO) or cable operator shall be entitled to make deductions from the refundable security deposit at the rate of Rs 12.50 for every month or part of the month for which the subscriber has used a STB taken on rent or lease. The deductions will be made upon the submission of the STB in working condition.

Under the standard tariff package (STP), subscribers will have the second option of not paying any security deposit but the monthly rental will be higher at Rs 45 per STB. For analogue boxes, the rent will be Rs 23 per month per STB.

"In both options, there will be no payment for installation, activation charges, smart card/viewing card, repair and maintenance cost. Stakeholders are also free to suggest any other option as a STP," Trai said today in a release.

"Since the Indian standards do permit analogue STBs, an option for these boxes has also been provided under the second category," the regulator added.

Trai's draft of the tariff proposals for STBs has invited comments of the stakeholders. Stakeholders may comment on these alternatives as well as suggest any other options for Trai to consider.

"It has been proposed that each service provider should at least offer one STP in addition to any other alternate tariff package. The rationale behind this proposal is that every consumer should have the choice of choosing from amongst various alternatives of which at least one should be a package that is approved by Trai," today's release said.

Trai's proposed draft tariff order for STB schemes in CAS areas follows the government's notification on 31 July that CAS would be implemented in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Earlier, the division bench of the Delhi High Court had passed an order directing implementation of CAS with effect from 31 December in these three metros.

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