Updated: January 6, 2020 5:52:52 pm
TRAI New DTH Rules: On Wednesday, TRAI modified some parts of the new DTH rules that were introduced and implemented in February 2019. With the revised rules TRAI has increased the number of free-to-air channels and reduced pricing for pay channels in bouquets.
The number of free channels available at the Network Capacity Fee (NCF) of Rs 130 has increased to 200 in total, which was earlier limited to 100. These new provisions come into effect on March 1, 2020.
More channels in NCF: What it means
Previously, DTH and cable providers could ensure 100 channels in the base NCF base of Rs 130+18% GST, which meant Rs 154 in total. This mean that users could get 100 channels for just Rs 154, provided all were free-to-air channels. If users included paid channels in this list of 100, the price of those channels was also added, though NCF charges remained at Rs 130.
But with the new rules TRAI has increased the provision to allow 200 channels in maximum NCF (network capacity fee) of Rs 130 plus taxes every month. Keep in mind, the bill only remains Rs 154 (including GST), if all channels selected are free-to-air channels. Earlier, if a user wanted more than 100 channels, there was extra NCF charge of Rs 20 for the slot of next 25 SD channels.
The regulator adds in its statement that distribution platform operators (DPO) can’t charge more than Rs 160 per month for giving all channels available on their platform. However, the broadcasters will have the flexibility to determine the free-to-air channels for different geographies.
TRAI also mentions that that channels that were declared mandatory by ministry of information and broadcasting will not be counted in the NCF, so it frees up more slots for users in compiling their list of 200 channels, while keeping the NCF charges limited to Rs 154.
NCF for second connection
In homes with multi-TV connection, TRAI has said now limited NCF charges for the second or additional TV connections. TRAI said that in homes where there is more than one TV connection in a home in the name of one person, the cable or DTH company can charge maximum 40 per cent of declared NCF for second and additional TV connections.
It has also allowed cable operators and DTH companies to offer discounts on long term subscriptions which are for a duration of six months or more.
Channels in bouquet packs
TRAI has also declared that for any channel to be part of the bouquet pack from any broadcaster, the maximum price of the channel cannot be more than Rs 12. This means some channels, which were priced at Rs 19 and made part of bouquets, can no longer be part of these, which are offered by broadcasters. Bouquets usually club a number of channels together from one broadcaster. For example, Star Network can create a bouquet pack for Sports.
TRAI has also said that the total value of paid a-la-carte channels in a bouquet cannot be more than one and half times the price of a bouquet in which such channels are included. Further, it had added that the a-la-carte rates of each pay channel (MRP), which is part of a bouquet, shall in no case exceed three times the average rate of a pay channel of the bouquet.
In the statement, TRAI notes that broadcasters should publish revised tariff of a-la-carte channels and bouquets on their website by 15 January 2020. The DPOs are also said to publish revised DRP of a-la-carte channels and bouquets on their website by 30 January 2020.
“Consumers will be able to benefit as per the amended provisions with effect from 1 March 2020. The Authority is of the view that the amendments will usher in better consumer offerings, more flexible tariff schemes and more choices for consumers.” TRAI adds.
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