The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) announced amendments to the tariff regime and was supposed to implement the new rules on March 1. As part of the same National Tariff Order (NTO) 2.0, Trai urged broadcasters to announce new channel prices by January 15. However, broadcasters approached the respective local courts going against the NTO 2.0. The court has postponed various hearings and the next one will take place on February 12. That being said, DTH operators Tata Sky, Airtel Digital TV, Dish TV and Sun Direct may come up with the new plans on February 12 itself. Alongside DTH operators, Cable TV will also come up with new plans on the same day. Going by Trai’s instructions, broadcasters must have announced the new prices by January 15, 2020, which will be followed by DTH and Cable TV operators by January 30, 2020. The new prices were supposed to be implemented by March 1, 2020.
Trai NTO 2.0 Supposed to Become Official on March 1
To recall, the National Tariff Order 1.0 became effective on April 1, 2019, after a delay of more than four months. And now, it’s happening with NTO 2.0. Going by the amendments published by Trai on January 1, 2020, broadcasters were supposed to announce the revised prices before January 15, 2020. However, they approached the respective local courts asking to put a stay on Trai’s new rules. The court has been suspending the hearing and the next one would be on February 12.
If the verdict comes in favour of Trai, then broadcasters will have to publish the new prices as per the amendments suggested by Trai. DTH and Cable TV operators will have to follow the broadcasters. This essentially means the implementation of Trai NTO 2.0 will likely be delayed by another month if the verdict goes in favour of broadcasters. Basically, operators will be given one month of time for implementing the new changes from the date of publishing the new prices. For instance, Trai directed operators to publish revised prices by January 30, 2020, and to implement them by March 1, 2020. Since there is no final verdict, broadcasters and operators will have to follow the current deadlines itself.
Broadcasters Going Against Trai Regarding NTO 2.0
Trai, to reduce monthly TV pack prices of subscribers, said that the broadcasters or operators should not include any individual channel priced above Rs 12 in bouquets. That being said, Trai’s aim was to bring the majority of the channels priced at Rs 19 to Rs 12. For example, a lot of popular channels from broadcasters like Sony Networks, Star India, ZEE Entertainment and Sun TV are priced at Rs 19. With the new amendments in place, broadcasters, DTH and Cable TV operators can not include the channels priced at Rs 19 in any of the add-ons or bundled packs.
Broadcasters are upset with this move from Trai and are going against the regulator right now. Trai did not announce any extension of the current March 1 deadline, but with the lack of support from broadcasters, it will be interesting to see whether operators meet the deadline or not.