Trai New DTH Rules: Broadcasters to Not Get Any Interim Relief From Bombay HC

The Indian Broadcasting Foundation had filed petitions in the Bombay HC against the Trai order asking for interim relief in the matter

Highlights
  • The broadcasters say that the new rules drastically affects their business
  • Trai's new rules are set to go into effect on March 1
  • Broadcasters have already missed the deadline to list renewed channel prices

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has brought new rules into the DTH, and broadcasting industry and these new rules affect the pricing of the channels which broadcasters are shipping. However, the broadcasters have not taken these new rules as positive, and they are opposed to the implementation of these new rules. Now the matter has been pending in the Bombay HC, where a hearing was to be held. In this hearing, the court has adjourned the matter to February 12. The bench of Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice RI Chagla also refused to grant interim relief to the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) which represents all the major broadcasters in India.

trai-rules-bombay-hc-broadcasters

Matter Still in Bombay HC Over Trai Regulations

The bench has also said that the broadcasters an ask for a stay on the order while the next hearing happens on February 12. Also, the bench will be taking a final decision on the matter in the next hearing only. In the meantime, the bench in Bombay HC has said that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has set a deadline for the new rules and their implementation is to happen on March 1, and the broadcasters and DPOs should adhere to these deadlines.

Last week in this development, the petitioners had filed their rejoinders, in reply to which Trai had said that the matter should be heard on the basis of petitions and not the rejoinders. The first hearing on the matter was held on January 14, with the matter then being adjourned to January 30 as the broadcasters had to take their time to go through the reply which Trai had made.

Broadcasters Line up Against Trai

It is worth noting that the IBF represents major broadcasters in the country like Sony Pictures Network India (SPNI), Star India, ZEEL and more. The broadcasters are of the opinion that the new rules brought forth by Trai pose a major hurdle to the business of the broadcasters. They have also asserted that they have already lost around 50% of the subscribers because of the Trai tariff regime and were still adjusting to the aftermath of the first National Tariff Order (NTO) implementation. The major point which has been opposed by the broadcasters is the reduction of channel prices from Rs 19 to Rs 12 if they are to be included in channel packs.

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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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