The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has released new amendments to the National Tariff Order which went into effect last year in February. The National Tariff Order (NTO) or the Trai Tariff Regime brought some reeling changes into the industry, made the pricing of channels and DTH connections fairer and gave more choices to the consumers as well. However, it also increased the prices of the DTH and cable TV connections as well. To patch this up, Trai has again released changes to the NTO which it is now referring to as NTO 2.0. But, the problem is that many broadcasters, big and small, are opposed to the NTO 2.0 saying that it is constricting their business and is likely to put many channels and broadcasters out of business. To this, Trai has issued a long answer in its latest press release thus highlighting the positives of the NTO 2.0 and emphasising the good changes which the new order will bring for the consumers and the broadcasters alike. These are some of the points that Trai has addressed.
Trai Ensures Pricing Freedom for Broadcasters
Firstly, Trai noted that although the Trai tariff regime has been capable of bringing transparency into the pricing of channels and the DTH industry, in general, it has not been entirely successful in availing the full interest of the consumers because of the misuse of pricing flexibility given to the broadcasters and other service providers. Trai also noted that it has set up explicit revenue streams for the DPOs by means of NCF and for the broadcasters by means of pay channels.
New Rules on Trai Tariff Regime
Trai added to its words saying, “It is important to mention here that after implementation of NTO, some broadcasters enhanced their channel prices drastically, which in large number of cases were more than 100%.” This is the reason why Trai has considered some of the moves by the broadcasters to be anti consumers and has decided to bring the new rules into the picture. As per the new DTH rules given by Trai, the channel packs which are priced above Rs 12 cannot be part of a channel pack. This limit was earlier set at Rs 19. Other rules mandated by Trai say that the individual pricing of the channel cannot be more than 1.5 times that of the price which is in the channel pack. This is likely to curb the misuse of the pricing freedom provided to the broadcasters. Trai has taken the stance that the new rule changes still allow the broadcasters to price their channels according to them while also giving consumer interest a priority.
Multi TV Connection, Better NCF Pricing and More
Highlighting other salient features of the NTO 2.0, Trai has noted that the Multi TV connection is another one of the things that have been fixed. As per the new rules, no more than 40% of the NCF can be charged by the DPOs for the second connection and every other connection. Also, the NCF rules have been changed by Trai, thus now ensuring that in just Rs 130, the subscribers will be able to enjoy 200 SD channels. Not only this, but the total NCF cap has been set at Rs 160 meaning that in no way subscribers will be spending more than Rs 160 per month on NCF, regardless of how many channels they are subscribed to.
Trai has also noted that it has left the basic structure of the National Tariff Order (NTO) as it is while making some minor changes to the rules just to curb the misuse of the pricing freedom given to the broadcasters. Besides all of this, a carriage fee of Rs 4 lakh per month has been decided by Trai for the DPOs thus ensuring the viability of the niche and news channels.