The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued new tariff orders for digital cable systems, which is likely to set foot into the first phase of TV digitisation starting July 1, 2012 in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, according to a yourmoneysite.com report.
Industry analysts say that new orders will give a major fillip to the subscribers, but at the expense of affecting digital cable operators' businesses. As per the regulartory body's latest amendement, all channels are to be made available either individually or on a-la-carte basis. What is more, TRAI has allowed operators to charge carriage fees, but in a non-discriminatory fashion, noted the report.
Besides that the deemed authority has ensured that it will hold the discretionary power to intervene, if carriage fees are found unreasonable, the report pointed out. TRAI's regulation on basic service tire has not gone too well with digital cable operators, as BST ensures that viewrs can ge at least 100 free to air channels for maximum of Rs 100. The 100 FTA channels will mandatorily have to include five channels of each genre, including news, sports, infotainment, music, movies, lifestyle and general entertainment and will also include 18 Doordharshan channels, the report said.
Stating that the new orders have further directed multi-system operators (MSOs) to file carriage fees with TRAI and that the operators can fix a minimum monthly subscription of not more than Rs 150, the report went on to add that the MSOs have also been informed that the single channel rate should not exceed three times of the average channel rate of bouquet. In conclusion, the operators will have to carry at least 200 channels and will have to expand the cap to 500 channels by 2013, the report added.
Meanwhile Harit Nagpal, President of DTH Operators Association of India, congratulating the TRAI for delivring a Tariff order said: "While the Tariff Order provides a framework for operators in a competitive digital Pay TV environment, it remains sufficiently non prescriptive thus allowing the operators to differentiate themselves while positioning their packages and services to the customers".