The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) announced new changes for the DTH industry last year and with these changes, it divided channels into two types which included FTA (Free-to-Air) channels and Pay channels. The difference between these two types of channels was exactly what the name said. However, even the FTA channels were not entirely free. The subscribers still had to pay the Network Capacity Fee (NCF) which is the cost of carrying these channels paid to the DTH operator. Whereas, in the Pay channels, the content charges have also to be paid to the broadcasters, which increase the cost borne by the subscriber to view these channels. Previously, the subscribers used to enjoy 100 SD channels in Rs 130 NCF. But, now with the increase in the channel limit, the appetite for the FTA channels for the consumers will increase by twofold and even a bit more. How will this happen? Read ahead to find out.
FTA Channels on New NCF Price
Firstly, it is imperative to look at what the subscribers were enjoying before. As per the previous Trai rules on the matter, the subscribers had to pay the minimum base NCF of Rs 130 which would get them 100 SD channels or 50 HD channels. This was the cost for carrying the channels. The subscribers might decide to subscribe to 75 FTA channels, and the cost that they would have paid month on month would have only been Rs 130. We say 75 channels only, you ask. This is because there were also mandatory DD (Doordarshan) channels which were counted against the allotted NCF which the subscribers paid for. So while the subscribers paid for 100 SD channels, they only got the slots for 75. This meant that the subscribers could subscribe to 75 FTA channels without paying anything more than Rs 130 plus taxes.
There are a handful of positive changes with the new Trai DTH rules. The first of these is the extension of the channel count on the base NCF. This basically means that the subscribers will now enjoy 200 SD channels instead of the 100 SD channels which was the limit before. Since FTA channels require no additional cost apart from the NCF required to carry them, the subscribers in total will be able to enjoy full 200 FTA channels in only Rs 130 plus taxes or Rs 153 per month.
No Mandatory DD Free Channels
With this new move, the mandatory counting of DD channels in the paid NCF has also been removed. This means that the subscribers will not pay for the 25 channel slots only to find them to be occupied by DD channels, but instead, all the NCF that the subscriber pay for will be available to them. This means, that as opposed to the previous rule, where the subscribers could enjoy 75 FTA channels for Rs 153 per month now the subscribers will be able to get 200 FTA channels for the same amount, which is more than double the previous number of channels.
This is good news for the subscribers who want to watch a lot of news channels and previously had to pay the Rs 20 fee for 25 new channels. Now, they won’t have to pay this additional NCF charge. Along with this, the subscribers who are subscribed to more than 100 channels will benefit from this move, as the NCF required to pay will remain the same, and there would be no additional NCF.