Regulators

Trai looking to fix pay channel rates, bundling quantum

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NEW DELHI: The broadcast and cable regulator Telecom Authority of India (Trai) now has set its eye on fixingthe rates of individual pay channels and the quantum of bundling that can be allowed with an aim to give cable viewers greater choice.It is also looking at capping commercial time on paychannels after due consultation.

In a statement today, Trai has said that subsequent to a meeting held on 25 February a committee has been formed whose terms of references would include deciding on the rates of pay channels payable by cable operators and MSOs.The terms of reference for the committee have now been decided which are as follows:

1.Suggest the norms for fixing rates (or ceiling

rates) for cable subscribers/cable operators / Multi

Service Operators for individual pay channels,

bouquets thereof, and distribution of free-to-air

channels.

2.Suggest regulation regarding rates of cable

operators, including periodicity of change of monthly

cable charges.

3. Suggest the principles for laying down limits as to

the extent of bundling of pay channels to be allowed

in order to ensure that Cable TV viewers have a

genuine choice with regard to selection of pay

channels.

4. Formulate the standard terms and conditions under

which set top boxes may be made available

(sale/rental) to subscriber.

5. Suggest the conditions under which consumers may

return set top boxes sold or rented to them by service

providers and ask for refund.

6. Suggest the maximum advertising time to be

permitted per hour on pay channels along with other

conditions that are required to be imposed.

7. Examine the implications of gradual and voluntary

introduction of set top boxes.

8. Any other measure, to ensure that CAS does not lead

to exploitation of the consumer by the monopoly

distribution channels.

Secretary, Trai, would be the chairman of the

committee. The first meeting of this committee is

scheduled for 10 March.

Trai had held a meeting on 25 February with the

state governments of Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal

and Tamilnadu to discuss issues relating to cable

services and various other problems faced by state

governments in the implementation of CAS.

Following this meeting, Trai had decided to establish

a special committee comprising representatives of

these state governments, which would work on various

issues relating to cable television and provide inputs

to the Authority to finalise regulations in this

regard.

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