The National Tariff Order (NTO) post the latest Bombay ruling underwent a few more changes. As per the new rules, the broadcasters in the industry were required to publish their new prices and inform the same to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The regulator, besides looking at the telecom industry, also has reins over the DTH and broadcasting industry as well. However, the deadline, which has expired on August 12, has seen very little compliance from the broadcasters. As per the broadcasting companies, they need more time to file the Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO), and this is more time to take part in the process. It is also worth noting that the ruling of the court has not sat well with these companies.
Only One Point of the Tariff Order Struck Down
To roll back a little bit, the broadcasting companies have been opposed to the National Tariff Order rollout by TRAI since the beginning. The legal tussle for the same still continues in many High Courts across the country. In a very recent ruling by Bombay HC, the bench had upheld the constitutional validity of the NTO 2.0 brought forth by TRAI. The report comes from ET Telecom. However, using the doctrine of severability, the bench had struck down a part of the order on the grounds that it was arbitrary.
The ruling was petitioned against by the broadcasters in the Supreme Court, which had refused to club the various cases firstly and secondly had outright refused to put a stay on order. This was on August 6, after which the next hearing is slated to be heard on August 18.
Broadcasters Opposed to New Tariff Regime
The telecom regulator and the broadcasters have been embroiled in this battle for long; while TRAI’s argument says that the new tariff order has been put in place to check the transparency of the cable operators, MSOs, LCOs and DTH operators, the broadcasters argue that their subscription revenue has been badly hit by the move.
The second iteration of the NTO, also known as NTO 2.0, caps the channel pricing at Rs 12, which is a low blow as compared to the already existing Rs 19 per month, max pricing allowed for channels. The Rs 130 NCF would allow 200 channels to the subscribers under the new regime.