The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has finally released the amendments to the tariff regime. Trai's new tariff regime in the broadcasting sector became effective on April 1, 2019, but TV viewers had several issues with the major one being the increased monthly bills. To address the issues with Trai tariff regime, Trai issued two consultation papers on August 16, 2019, and September 15, 2019. Trai has addressed various issues related to bouquets offered by DPOs, Network Capacity Fee (NCF) reduction, NCF for Multi TV charges and more amendments. Furthermore, Trai also considered the concern of broadcasters regarding huge carriage fee being charged by DPOs. The regulator has made it mandatory for the broadcasters to publish the revised channels prices by January 15, 2020, while DPO should add the same by January 30, 2020. The new changes will be effective to the consumers by March 1, 2020.
Trai Makes Major Changes to Bouquets Offered by Broadcasters
After discussing a lot with the stakeholders and the public, Trai has come up with these new changes. Firstly, Trai has addressed the issue of a huge discount in the formation of bouquets by the broadcasters. The Authority has come up with two conditions to ensure that the price of a-la-carte channels does not become illusionary; The first case is the sum of a-la-carte rates of the pay channels (MRP) forming part of a bouquet shall in no case exceed one and half times the rate of the bouquet of which such pay channels are a part. In the second case, the a-la-carte rates of each pay channel (MRP), forming part of a bouquet, shall in no case exceed three times the average rate of a pay channel of the bouquet of which such pay channel is a part.
Furthermore, Trai also finalised that the a-la-carte channels having a price of Rs 12 or less will be permitted to be part of the bouquet offered by broadcasters.
Trai Reduces NCF to Rs 130 for 200 Channels
The major issue which every TV viewer faced is the NCF charges. Trai says it examined various provisions in detail and accordingly mandated provision of 200 channels in maximum NCF of Rs 130 (excluding taxes). In addition to that, it has also been decided that the channels declared mandatory by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will not be counted in the number of channels in the NCF.
Trai also mandated the DPOs to not charge more than Rs 160 per month for giving all FTA channels available on their platform. Right now, DPOs are charging Rs 153 NCF charges for the first 100 channels and Rs 20 (excluding taxes) for every 25 additional channels.
Multi TV NCF Charges Reduced as Well
Moving on, Trai also addressed the high Multi TV charges being taken by the DPOs. Earlier in 2019, Trai said that the operators have the full freedom of providing a discount on NCF for Multi TV users. This made Tata Sky charges full NCF of Rs 153 from every Multi TV user. This made the consumers highlight huge charges taken by DPOs in the form of NCF for a Multi TV home.
As part of the new amendments, Trai has decided that the operators will charge a maximum 40% of declared NCF for second and additional TV connections. Authority has also permitted DPOs to offer discounts on long term subscriptions which is for six months or more.
When Will the New Amendments Come into Place?
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has also confirmed that the broadcasters should revise the prices of their a-la-carte channels by January 15, 2020. DTH and Cable TV operators are required to publish the revised a-la-carte and bouquets on their website by January 30, 2020. Consumers will be able to benefit as per the amendments from March 1, 2020.