TRAI directs broadcasters to implement NTO 2.0 by 10 August

All details must be published on their websites.

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has directed all broadcasters to comply with the provisions of the New Tariff Amendment Order (NTO 2.0) by 10 August. Broadcasters must publish details including maximum retail price per month of channels and maximum retail price per month of bouquets of channels, composition of bouquets and also amended reference interconnected offer (RIO) and other on their website.

The regulatory body said, “In order to promote orderly growth of the sector and to balance the interests of service providers and to safeguard the interest of the consumers, it is necessary to give effect to Tariff Amendment Order 2020 and interconnection amendment regulations 2020 without any further delay.”

The regulatory body on 1 January, had notified the NTO 2.0 and the interconnection amendment regulations 2020. “TRAI has issued direction to all broadcasters to ensure compliance of various provision of the Telecommunication (broadcasting and cable) services dated 1 January 2020 and telecommunications (broadcasting and cable) services interconnection regulations, dated 1 January 2020.”

TRAI has also expressed discontent over one broadcaster allegedly discontinuing its low priced bouquets from 1 August and pushing higher-priced bouquets, in violation of NTO 1.0. It has also stated that the broadcaster has not informed TRAI about such change.

The authority has also claimed that distribution platform operators (DPOs) have complained that some of the broadcasters are not willing to sign RIOs according to NTO 2.0. Hence, many DPOs are not willing to enter into such agreements creating an overall regulatory vacuum in the industry. Moreover, it has been also stated that some broadcasters are extending old agreements with few DPOs. 

The industry watchdog has stated that non-implementation of the NTO 2.0 is leading to chaos in the sector and jeopardising the business processes which has been harmonised after NTO 1.0 came into effect. According to it, delay and uncertainty in the implementation of NTO 2.0 will again bring back non-transparency and discriminatory practices in the sector.

Notably, major broadcasters moved to court after NTO 2.0 was notified. While the cases are subjudice, the ongoing pandemic has delayed the judgements. Hence, an ambiguity is prevailing in the industry. And the latest notification might irk broadcasters more.

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