The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has made amendments to its new tariff order (NTO) which was first published in March 2017.
According to a note from the authority, this comes after it analysed the comments of the stakeholders to protect the interests of consumers. In order to address the issue of huge discount in formation of bouquets by the broadcasters vis-a-vis sum of a-la-carte channels, the authority prescribed conditions to ensure that price of a-la-carte channels does not become illusionary.
The release from TRAI stated:
"The sum of the a-la-carte rates of the pay channels (MRP) forming part of a bouquet shall in no case exceed one and half times the rate of the bouquet of which such pay channels are a part; and the a-la-carte rates of each pay channel (MRP), forming part of a bouquet, shall in no case exceed three times the average rate of a pay channel of thebouquet of which such pay channel is a part."
Additionally, the authority has taken a call that only those channels which are having MRP of Rs.12 or less will be permitted to be part of the bouquet offered by broadcasters.
The authority has further stated that a mandated provision of 200 channels in maximum NCF (network capacity fee) of Rs.130 excluding taxes per month. This doesn't include the channels declared mandatory by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
In a home where in the name of one person there are multiple connections, distribution platform operators (DPOs) will charge maximum 40 per cent of declared NCF for second and additional TV connections. The authority has also permitted DPOs to offer discounts on long term subscriptions (six months or more).
TRAI has given broadcasters time till 15 January 2020 to publish revised MRP of a-la-carte channels and bouquets on their website. 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.
The released which was signed by TRAI's secretary, SK Gupta, added, "The amendments are expected to result in healthier and structured growth of the broadcasting and cable services sector."