The All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF) has asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to put the New Tariff Order (NTO) 2.0 on hold for the time being. According to an exchange4media report, AIDCF has requested the regulator to revisit the NTO 2.0 and ensure that a strong framework and set of policies are there which restrict the broadcasters from exploiting the new rules. Major broadcasters such as Sony, ZEE, Star, and Viacom18 have increased the price of their most popular channels and have kept them out of bouquets. This pushes customers to purchase these channels subscription on a standalone basis for a higher price. It will further result in inflated bill prices for the consumers.
AIDCF Further Asks TRAI to Regulate OTT Platforms and Applications
AIDCF has also asked the regulator to come out with a regulatory set of frameworks and policies for the over-the-top (OTT) platforms and applications. In the letter sent by AIDCF to TRAI, it is mentioned that the premier broadcasters have increased the price of their driver channels by 200% to 400% in the last two years.
These are unbelievable numbers and if this has really happened, it is high time that the regulator takes necessary steps to oversee the exploiting price hikes and moves from the broadcasters. Even the Bombay High Court (HC) had noted in the NTO 2.0 matter that the welfare, interest, and well-being of the consumer is more important than anything else in the process of building and rolling out a regulator regime.
One of the major observations shared by the AIDCF was that the cable TV subscribers are declining since continuous six quarters. More and more customers are shifting towards free Dish or OTT platforms. As per AIDCF, some of the major cable TV companies in the country have been losing 10% to 15% of subscribers every quarter.