Regulators

Pay channel's a la carte rate to not exceed two times its RIO rate: TRAI

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NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today said that the a la carte rate of a pay channel forming part of a bouquet offered by any digital platform should not exceed two times its RIO order rate offered by the broadcaster for addressable systems.

TRAI also said that the sum of a la carte rates of all channels in the bouquet should not exceed three times the bouquet rate. 

This applies to all multi-system operators (MSOs), direct to home (DTH) operators, internet protocol service (ISP) providers and Headend in the Sky (HITS) operators providing broadcasting services or cable service to its subscribers using a digital addressable system (DAS) and offers pay channels or pay and free-to-air (FTA) channels as part of a bouquet.

These provisions are contained in the draft Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (fourth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff (Amendment order), 2015 that TRAI has prepared consequent to an order of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Arbitration Tribunal (TDSAT) of 13 July.

TRAI has also given the definitions of RIO and RIO rates in the draft, to which comments can be filed by 14 October with counter-comments if any, by 21 October.

TRAI defines “RIO” as Reference Interconnect Offer published by a service provider specifying terms and conditions on which other service providers may seek interconnection from the service provider making the offer. On the other hand, “RIO rate” is the rate specified by the service provider in its Reference Interconnect Offer.

The a-la-carte rates of all the channels offered by the service provider should be same for all the bouquet of channels formed by the service provider.

The matter had gone to TDSAT as some platforms had objected to the “twin conditions” that were prescribed at retail level pricing of TV broadcasting services in order to link the a-la carte rates of channels to the bouquet rates in the Tariff order of 20 September, 2013.

TDSAT, while disposing off the appeal vide its order of 13 July, stated that the Authority will consider the concerns of the appellants and take a final decision on the matter within four months from the date of the order.

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