TRAI asks pay broadcasters to revise wholesale tariff, even as matter pending in SC

NEW DELHI: Fifty-four pay broadcasters were today asked by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to revise their wholesale tariff for the non-CAS (Conditional Access System) and DAS (Digital Addressable System) areas to what existed before the coming into force of the two tariff orders that have been set aside by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Settlement Tribunal (TDSAT).


TRAI, which also met some of the broadcasters in a meeting today, said the revised tariff should be filed with the Authority within 10 days from the date of receipt of the letter.


The TDSAT order had been challenged before the Supreme Court, which on 16 May declined to stay the order setting aside the amendments in two tariff orders, which had sought to put an inflation-linked hike of 27.5 per cent on addressable and non-addressable systems.


TDSAT chairman Aftab Alam and member Kuldip Singh said in their order of 28 April that the ‘The Telecommunication (Broadcasting & Cable) Services (Second) Tariff (Eleventh Amendment) Order, 2014’ and ‘The Telecommunication (Broadcasting & Cable) Services (Second) Tariff (Thirteenth Amendment) Order, 2014]’ were “untenable.”


The Tribunal also said it thought that TRAI “will be well advised to have a fresh look at the various tariff orders in a holistic manner and come out with a comprehensive tariff order in supersession of all the earlier tariff orders.”


In its letter placed on its website, TRAI said that the increase of 27.5 per cent in non-addressable systems had led to a similar increase in addressable systems in accordance with the provisions of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Fourth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff Order of 21 July, 2010.


TRAI in the Telecommunication (Broadcasting & Cable) Services (Second) Tariff (Eleventh Amendment) Order of 31 March, 2014 allowed an inflationary increase of 15 per cent in the wholesale prices for non-addressable systems over the prices prevailing as on 31 March, 2014 to be effective from 1 April, 2014 and 12.5 per cent with effect from January 2015 under the Telecommunication (Broadcasting & Cable) Services (Second) Tariff (Thirteenth Amendment) Order of 31 December, 2014. 

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