Regulators

Cable TV price may reduce as TRAI issues tariff, QofS, interconnect regulations after SC nod

MUMBAI: Cable TV prices are now expected to reduce after Telecom Regulatory Authority of India yesterday issued a series of orders relating to digital addressable systems.

Broadcast carriage regulator TRAI had lined up a slew of guidelines relating to tariff, quality of service and interconnections, including proposing maximum retail price (MRP) for channels being bundled in genre-wise bouquets, freeing unbundled premium channels of  price caps and reining in the last mile cable operator (LCO) from breaching revenue-gravy trail.

Sources in TRAI had indicated the regulator had favoured introducing MRP for TV channels that broadcasters offer in a bouquet to MSOs so the prices could be conveyed to a consumer in a transparent manner for him to make an empowered choice. Though broadcasting companies do submit annually a-la-carte rates of their respective channels to TRAI, the regulator was of the opinion that a consumer doesn’t ultimately get to choose the channel of his choice transparently.

Following the green signal from the Supreme Court yesterday morning, TRAI issued a series of orders relating to digital addressable systems.

Apart from the Tariff order which had been issued on 10 October last year, the regulator also issued the DAS Interconnect Regulations which had been issued on 14 October last year, and the Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection (Digital Addressable Systems) Regulations which had been issued on 10 October last year.

In separate press releases, TRAI said the three documents issued in October last year were in draft form. Earlier, the regulator had issued consultation papers on the issues and finalized the regulations after receiving responses from stakeholders and open house discussions, the final regulations have been issued. The regulations had been issued after However, a cursory glance shows that the regulator has stuck to its draft with some incidental changes.

The orders can be seen at:

http://trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Tariff_Order_English_3%20March_20...

http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/QOS_Regulation_03_03_2017.pdf

http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Interconnection_Regulation_03...

Earlier, both Star India and Vijay TV had filed a petition in Madras High Court under the Copyright Act on the ground that TRAI could not issue orders that would affect content but could only issue regulations relating to distribution and other matters.

After the High Court stayed all orders issued by it, TRAI appealed to the Supreme Court which this morning said that TRAI was free to issue its orders. However, it said the case in the High Court would continue and would have to be completed within sixty days.

Both channels were also given leave to amend their petitions in the event of TRAI issuing any orders.

Also read:

TRAI tariff & quality of services regulations

TRAI issues comprehensive interconnect draft guidelines

Offer Premium channels as a la carte, don't bundle: TRAI

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