TRAI draft tariff order skewed in favour of DPOs, will harm industry: IBF

NEW DELHI: The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), an apex body of broadcasting companies, has criticised sector regulator TRAI for over-regulating and proposing draft guidelines on tariff and interconnection that are skewed in favour of distribution platform operators (DPOs).

Responding to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) draft orders relating to tariff, inter-connections and quality of service, IBF said the new regime will lead to “de-growth” of the industry and discourage investments and production of good quality content in the television industry.

Pointing out that the proposed regulatory regime “regresses rather than advances”, IBF in a lengthy reply has said with over 830 channels for consumers to choose from and a large pubcaster offering of over 100 private and public TV channels, whether there a “need to regulate all aspects of a set of 200 odd pay TV channels”.

"The question for the Authority would be, is there proven evidence of market failure that a dire need has arisen to over-regulate these 200 odd pay TV channels(?). We are of the firm belief that there is no compelling reason to regulate these channels and, accordingly, only a light touch regulation, if at all, ought to have been proposed,” IBF has submitted justifying its criticism of  draft  guidelines.

Contending that pay TV channels (read cable and DTH services) were not essential services IBF counters there was no compelling reason to regulate these channels. “The present tariff order is based on the ‘erroneous premise’ that pay TV channels are essential services,” the broadcasting industry body said.

Citing international copyrights and IPR laws, IBF pointed out that whole exercise undertaken by TRAI was in direct conflict with the provisions of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957.

According to IBF, the proposed tariff and inter-connect orders conflict with the Copyright Act in the following ways and need to be "harmonised":

a.       The proposed tariff order(s) that impose restrictions on nature of content, prices of channels, mandated discount caps and commissions, manner of offering, etc have to be reviewed and modified in the light of specific copyright laws providing freedom to broadcast organisations to charge royalties and any other consideration/fees for their works and BRR in accordance with the market demands and contract laws.

b.      The draft interconnect regulations issued by TRAI that take away the broadcast organisations’ exclusive rights to deal and imposes restrictions on their contractual abilities and takes away their ability to negotiate the terms of trade need to be reviewed and modified to harmonise the same with the provisions of the Copyright Act pertaining to voluntary licensing and assignments by Broadcast Organisations by permitting mutual negotiations.

c.       The existing commercial tariff orders and regulations issued by TRAI in relation to commercial establishments is also at odds with copyright laws in as much as the Copyright Act clearly provides broadcast organisations the right to charge differential rates of royalties and license fees on commercial establishments vis-a-vis domestic/residential subscribers.

Going a step further, IBF has raised questions over transparency and the manner in which draft guidelines were issued: “The draft consultations also do not meet the threshold of transparency mandated by Section 11(4) of the TRAI Act 1997, which requires that the Authority will ensure transparency while exercising its powers and discharging its functions.”

Also Read:

TRAI unlikely to take final call on draft orders soon

Latest Reads
TRAI extends dates for comments on uplinking/downlinking consultation paper

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has extended the deadline for receiving comments on the consultation paper relating to uplinking and downlinking of TV channels. The new dates for receiving comments and counter-comments are 31 January and 10 February respectively.

Regulators TRAI
TRAI invites ICT-based solution providers to upgrade tech

NEW DELHI: With the demand for a wide range of services based on ICT platform involving machine-to-machine and internet of things, etc. increasing, Indian broadcast and telecom regulator TRAI is looking at expanding its technical capabilities and, in this regard, has invited proposals from...

Regulators TRAI
MIB mandates broadcasters to make applications via Broadcast Seva

MUMBAI: In its latest move to ensure ease of conducting business, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has mandated TV broadcasters to make online applications for a range of submissions.

Regulators I&B Ministry
TRAI releases paper on National Telecom Policy 2018

Seeking views from stakeholders on the new telecom policy, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today released a consultation paper on inputs for formulation of the National Telecom Policy 2018.

Regulators TRAI
TRAI tightens the screws on interconnectivity for telcos

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a mandate to service providers directing them to enter into an interconnection agreement on a “non-discriminatory basis” within 30 days of receiving a connectivity request from another mobile operator.

Regulators TRAI
Cross-media holding: Indian policymakers push for regulations

A section of policymakers in India is not in favour of market forces taking care of monopolistic trends in the increasingly converging print and electronic media. It has recommended government intervention—a thought-process that can have wide-ranging implications on activities of broadcasting...

Regulators I&B Ministry
Parliamentary panel pushes for TRAI's empowerment

MUMBAI: Parliament’s Standing Committee on Information Technology and Communications (SCIT) wants more regulations for the broadcast industry. Finding the current powers given to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) inadequate, it has recommended that either the scope of its authority...

Regulators TRAI
Parliamentary panel raps MIB on knuckles for DAS implementation

MUMBAI: The Parliament’s Standing Committee on Information Technology and Communications (SCIT) has sent out a stern message to the stakeholders of India’s broadcast and cable industry, including the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB): get your acts together.

Regulators I&B Ministry
Bharat Net project to provide 1gbps broadband bandwidth in villages

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: The Indian government’s proposal of providing hi-speed broadband services to rural areas seems to be on track. It said that in the second phase of the ambitious Bharat Net project, covering approximately 150,000 gram panchayats, it has been proposed to provide 1gbps bandwidth in...

Regulators TRAI

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories