TRAI’s New Rules For DTH, Cable TV Tariffs; Know How TV User Will Be Affected

By Madhu

TRAI’s, the telecom regularity Authority of India, made changes in the regulatory framework for cable and broadcasting services with an aim to address major issues of the consumers. The new changes that have been made, is introduced in the form of the new update to the DTH framework declared back in 2017, in which an additional number of channels were included for NDF, network capacity fee, that costs around Rs 130/- ceiling on a-la-carte channel pricing. there are also some offers for consumers having multiple TV connections. in addition to it, the distribution platform operations (DPOs) are permitted by the regulator that also includes cable TV operators and DTH providers to offer discounts on long-term subscriptions.

From March 1, 2020, the new amendments in the TRAI will come in the real implementation. here is a highlight of all the major changes in the regulator that has been designed. Here, a brief introduction has been given so that the TV viewer can know, what changes they are going to suffer as an end-user.

 NCF revisions in New TRAI DTH tariff rules
The major change that the user is going to face is in a regulatory framework that provides the ability to let users use more channels at the same NCF. Previously, the regulator is offering users to avail 75 pay SD Channels and 25 mandatory Door Darshan channels at an NCF of Rs. 130 (excluding taxes). Now, the number of channels in the same NCF of Rs 130/- is increased by 100 or 200 channels. In short, this means that users can avail 100 additional channels at the same price which they were paying earlier.

it is to be noted that TRAI has not publicized any details about providing NCF in cases if you want to avail extra channels. according to the existing framework, an amount of Rs 20 is chargeable for every block of 25 paid SD channels. it is not clarified by the regulators that whether the Door Darshan channel will be included in the 200 channels count or not. The amendments also state that the channels mandatory by the ministry of information and broadcasting will not be included in the number of channels in NCF. Further, it is also said that no changes will be observed in the NCF for HD channels which means that the users can continue to use one HD channel in place of two SD channels for NCF.

 Cheaper Multi-TV connections
Further, in addition to the basic NCF changes, the TRAI has issued some directives to charge a maximum of 40% of the announced NCF for second and more TV connections. this tells that the consumers having multiple TV connections will be able to avail the NCF services at limited NCF charges. DTH operators like Tata Sky used to charge full NCF on secondary and more connections earlier.

Discounts on Long-term packs
the long term subscription plan is used by a large number of consumers to avail of some discounts in the future, but these discounts are affected by the recent changes in the discounts. the TRAI in their latest amendments has given the permission to the cable TV operators and DTH providers to provide discounts on long term subscriptions that are longer than six months. this will aid the user to avail discounted rates for long term plans in the future.

 Free-to-air channel pricing update
Together cable TV operators and DTH providers made a commitment that they won’t charge more than Rs 160/- per month for offering all the free-to-air channels available on their portfolios.

A list of changes has been introduced by the TRAI for broadcasters and operators. the listed changes will directly affect the users through revised bouquets and updated pack rates.

From March 1, 2020, the TRAI is ready to bring forward new amendments for the users. From January 15, the broadcasters need to publish their revised MRP of a-la-carte channels and bouquets on their registered websites. From January 30, all cable TV operators and DTH firms have been directed to publish revised distributor retail price of a-la-carte channels and bouquets on their websites.

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