Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Your Cable TV and DTH subscriptions may become more affordable

A few months after mandating the New Tariff Order for Cable and DTH operators in India, TRAI has now proposed a review of the new framework.

The regulating authority has issued a consultation paper
titled "Tariff related issues for Broadcasting and Cable services," seeking responses from stakeholders on key points related to pricing and selection of channels.

TRAI looks to address three main tariff-related issues

In its paper, TRAI has asked responses on 30 questions, covering different aspects related to the new tariff order. However, the main issues are related to the revision of NCF, channel bouquets, and a cap on discounts on bouquet offerings.

TRAI notes that the new regulatory framework has brought transparency but "adequate choice to select TV channels has not been given to the consumers."

Review of Network Capacity Fee (NCF) :-

Notably, NCF is the mandatory fees which every consumer has to pay.

At present, it is Rs. 153 for upto 100 channels. Meaning, even if you select just one channel, you will at least have to pay Rs. 153.

Now, TRAI may reduce the NCF based on your region: higher fees for users in metros and a lower fee for subscribers in tier-2/tier-3 cities.

Should channel bouquets be allowed? :-

In its paper, "TRAI has observed that too many bouquets are formed by the broadcasters/Distributors and many of them contain very similar set of channels, with very few changes."

And this is true in every sense. ZEE has 68 channel packages while Star has 67 channels available across different languages.

Hence, TRAI may change this to reduce confusion.

Should there be a cap on discounts within bouquets? :-

TRAI has observed that broadcasters are "offering bouquets at a discount of upto 70% of the sum of a-la-carte rates of pay channels constituting those bouquets."

The regulatory authority noted that "in absence of any restriction on the discount on the offering of bouquets, broadcasters are making prices of a-la-carte channels illusory thereby impacting the a-la-carte choice of channels by consumers."


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