Trai Might Reduce NCF Charges and Change Multi TV Policy as Part of Improvements to Tariff Regime

Trai’s new tariff regime in the broadcasting sector wasn’t well-received by the consumers as they faced an increase in TV bills. If the increase in TV bills was an aspect for the consumers to go against the new tariff mandate, the consumer migration from DTH and Cable TV operators was filled with a lot of pain. In fact, some Cable TV operators did not even provide proper channel packs for migration to the users which irked them the most, and at the same time, forced them to choose OTT services over the standard DTH and Cable TV services. Trai accepted that the new regime did not meet consumer expectations and promised new changes which will become effective in the coming days. What would be the changes to expect from Trai? Well, let’s find out.

NCF Pricing and the Additional Channel Slab

Currently, the pricing of the network capacity fee (NCF) for the DTH providers and cable TV service providers has been set at Rs 153 per month for 100 SD channels inclusive of taxes. This is the bare minimum which the subscribers will have to pay no matter what they watch. On top of this price, the subscribers are required to pay Rs 20 for 25 additional channels and the content charges as well. Intending to bring the costs down, it is likely that the NCF prices mandates by Trai might see a slight cut down. Although at this point, it is pure speculation, it is also likely that Trai might come up with an alternative option to directly reduce the pricing of subscriptions.

Proper Framework for Multi-TV Pricing

Another area which was poorly governed and mandated by the new tariff regime was the multi-TV policy. Since there was no single guideline regarding this, every DTH operator launched their unique multi-TV pricing method, and there was no consistency between them. Some of the DTH operators went for mirroring of channels, while others allowed independent selection. The pricing of multi-TV connections also varied a lot from every DTH provider to another. This was seen as a slightly chaotic situation by the subscribers, so it is entirely possible that in the second iteration of Trai tariff regime the sector regulator may come up with a better implementation for multi-TV pricing.

Precise Guidelines for Long-Term Channel Packs and Offers

Even after so many months, there has still been no clear view about long-term channel packs by DTH providers. Also, because of the initial confusion by Trai over this issue, a lot of subscribers faced disruption in their connections. As such, it is probable that Trai might seek elaborate views on this topic and then might come up with a unified decision about how the long-term channel packs should be relayed by the DTH service providers along with some recommendations on the pricing of the same. Currently, all the DTH service providers are offering different types of long-term plans which resemble each other in some ways. But, still, the topic of long-term packs has been a doubtful one since the implementation of the new rules.

Trai Planning to Invite Comments on Correction of New Tariff Regime

The first thing to note is that Trai is currently in the pre-consultation paper stage and the telecom regulator has said that it will float a consultation paper in the coming months to invite comments about how the new regulatory framework can be improved for the better. Trai has also agreed to some of the market trends which subscribers have complained about including increased monthly TV bills. As such, there are three major pain points we feel that exist with the current implementation of the Trai tariff regime.

Changes Will Be Effective in a Few Days

Very recently, Trai has confirmed that the changes to the tariff regime will be visible to the consumers in the coming days. This essentially means that the regulator has already finalised the changes and they’re yet to implement. What are your expectations from Trai this time around? Let us know in the comments section below.

Arpit Sharma

Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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Arpit Sharma