TRAI notifies tariff order for digital cable, DTH
New Delhi: Come January, multi system and DTH operators will have to ensure that a la carte rate of a pay channel should not be more than twice the price at which it is offered wholesale.
Broadcasting regulator TRAI has come out with a notification according to which the a la carte rate of pay channels shall also not exceed three times the ascribed value of the pay channel in the bouquet.
The new conditions will be applicable from January 1, 2014, as Multi System Operators (MSOs), DTH and other service providers have been given time to adjust their pricing, a senior TRAI official said.
The new conditions are applicable to MSOs, DTH operators and also Internet Protocol service provider or HITS operators which provide broadcasting or cable services using a digital addressable system, the official said.
Explaining the conditions, the official said that wholesale price refers to the price at which the channels are offered by broadcasters to MSOs and DTH operators.
The official added that the conditions have been laid to ensure that the prices of the a la carte channels (which are chosen separately by the consumer) are not disproportionately high vis-a-vis the prices of channel bouquets.
The amendments in the tariff order modify the twin conditions that regulate the a la carte rate of channels vis-a-vis the bouquet rates at retail level, protecting the interests of the subscribers, a TRAI statement said.
It also clarifies the position that subscribers can either opt for channels on a la carte basis or bouquet or combination of both, as per their choice, the statement added.
TRAI has also changed rules related to broadcasting services as per which provisions regarding a minimum channel carrying capacity of 500 channels for MSOs and prohibition on charging of placement fees by them have been done away with.
A proviso has been added to specifically bring in clarity that the MSOs cannot seek a channel under a 'must carry provision' from the broadcaster and seek carriage fee at the same time, the TRAI official said.