The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has clarified that the network capacity fee (NCF) is not mandatory for subscribers who own more than one TV connection in a household. A number of Direct-to-Home (DTH) and cable TV users had raised concerns over likely high expenditure for multiple connections under new rules.
Watch: How to select channels under TRAI’s new rules
Under its new broadcast framework which came into effect starting this month, TRAI did not make it clear if subscribers would have to pay same NCF fee for each and every connection they have in a household. Now, the regulating body has clarified that the NCF is not mandatory for consumers with multiple TV connections.
“The regulation does not prohibit the service providers to offer a discount or lower network capacity fee for second or additional connections in the same location or home,” a TRAI statement said.
Commenting over the discount given on NCF by distribution platform operators, TRAI said that “such discount shall be uniform in the target market area of respective TV channel distributor” and the DPO (Distribution Platform Operator) shall declare it on their platform.”
It also clarified that the regulation, as previously stated, provides a capping of Rs 130 as NCF for 100 standard definitions (SD) channels and Rs 20 for the slab of next 25 SD channels.
While the new framework aims to reduce DTH prices by giving consumers the freedom to choose and pay only for channels they actually watch. While many consumers have reported a decrease in their monthly TV bill, a large number of consumers feel it has only escalated the bill amount.
TRAI, however, believes that DTH prices will come down in 3 months. It says that the new mandate promotes consumer choice and will also provide a fair competition among broadcasters. The regulating body says that is only after a few months of market play that real prices will be discovered.
Under the new rules, consumers will also have the freedom to change their channel choice at any time, choosing to add or delete a channel from their pack.