Regulators

Supreme Court to hold final hearing in NTO 2.0 case today

Broadcasters had challenged the Bombay HC order in the Apex court

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Mumbai: The Supreme Court is all set to hold the final hearing in the NTO 2.0 case on Tuesday. The matter pertains to a bunch of petitions filed against the Bombay high court order regarding the implementation of the New Tariff Order (NTO) 2.0 issued by the telecom regulator.

After a legal tussle that lasted over a year, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had managed to get a green signal from the Bombay high court on 30 June on the implementation of the amended NTO 2.0. The division bench of Bombay HC had upheld the constitutional validity of NTO 2.0, but partly struck down the second provision of the twin conditions as “arbitrary”. As per the second provision, the a-la-carte rates of each pay channel (MRP), forming part of a bouquet, shall in no case exceed three times the average rate of a pay channel of the bouquet of which such pay channel is a part.

The Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF), an umbrella organisation of private TV broadcasters and a couple of other private channels had moved the SC in July against the Bombay high court judgment which had upheld the constitutionality of the NTO 2.0.

The NTO 2.0 passed in January 2020 seeks to cap the pay channel price at Rs 12 from the existing Rs 19.

Earlier this month, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) moved the deadline for implementation of NTO 2.0 to 1 April 2022 from 1 December 2021. Distribution platforms like DTH and cable will have to seek subscriber choice till 31 March 2022. 

As per Trai, broadcasters will have to publish new reference interconnection offers (RIOs) to Trai by 31 December, and simultaneously publish the required information about channel and bouquet offerings and their MRPs on their websites. Broadcasters who have already submitted their RIOs in compliance with NTO 2.0 can revise it by 31 December, it said.

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