A lot of TV viewers in India right now are waiting for the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to implement the National Tariff Order (NTO) 2.0 at the earliest. Trai is all set to bring a lot of changes to the current tariff regime, which became effective last year. NTO 1.0 forced a lot of TV subscribers to move away from their Cable TV and DTH subscriptions because of higher NCF charges, new prices of a-la-carte channels, and more importantly, Trai's decision to leave the Multi TV NCF charges to operators. The upcoming tariff amendments address every single issue of the NTO 1.0. Trai to set a cap on Multi TV NCF charges under NTO 2.0 which a lot of subscribers will like. Right now, Tata Sky is charging full NCF of Rs 153 from every Multi TV user, whereas Airtel Digital TV is charging a discount NCF of Rs 80 for the first 100 channels. This is set to change in the coming weeks once the new tariff order becomes effective.
Trai to Cap Multi TV NCF Charges at 40% of Primary Connection' NCF
In the National Tariff Order 1.0, Trai left it to DTH and Cable TV operators on whether they can provide discounts on NCF for Multi TV connections. NCF or Network Capacity Fee is applicable to every DTH/Cable TV connection and even for Multi TV connections. So taking this order from Trai as granted, Tata Sky started charging full NCF of Rs 153 for every secondary or Multi TV connection. This move from the country's largest DTH operator irked a lot of subscribers. On the flip side, Airtel Digital TV is charging a discounted NCF of Rs 80 from Multi TV users, followed by Dish TV which collects just Rs 50 as NCF for secondary connections.
This is all set to change and will give a relief to Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV Multi TV users. In the NTO 2.0 amendments, Trai mentioned that DTH & Cable TV operators could only charge 40% of the NCF which the customers are paying for primary connection. And on the brighter side, the regular also urged the operators to provide 200 FTA channels in the base slab of Rs 130 (Rs 153 including taxes) only.
So if your primary connection NCF charges are just Rs 130, then your Multi TV NCF would be Rs 52 excluding taxes and Rs 61.2 including taxes. This move would benefit a lot of Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV users. However, Dish TV and D2h customers will have to shell out slightly more than the current NCF charges for Multi TV connections.
Trai NTO 2.0 to Come into Effect on March 1, 2020
The Trai gave a major setback for broadcasters on January 1, 2020, by releasing amendments to the tariff regime. Broadcasters are not allowed to include a channel priced above Rs 12 in bouquets which is a huge setback for them. This will result in a price reduction for popular channels as broadcasters want to include them in the bouquets.
All the broadcasters together went against Trai and the matter is in local courts. The next hearing for this is on February 12. Trai initially planned to implement NTO 2.0 on March 1, 2020, but we might see a slight delay. However, changes to FTA channels offered in the base slab and Multi TV NCF charges may become effective as promised on March 1.