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TRAI floats consultation paper on issues related to NCF, carriage fee

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has floated a fresh consultation paper to seek comments from industry stakeholders on issues related to the regulatory framework for broadcasting and cable services. Most of the issues are related to Distribution Platform Operators (DPO)s that include cable operators and Direct-to-Home service providers.

It has sought views on various issues pertaining to ceiling on network capacity fee (NCF) for multi-TV homes, mandatory FTA news channels in all packs formed by DPOs and level playing field with DD Free Dish among others.

The broadcast and telecom regulator has asked whether there is a need to review NCF and revised and whether it should be inflation or indices linked. It has also sought views on the periodicity at which it should be revised.

“ Whether DPOs should be allowed to have variable NCF for different bouquets/plans for and within a State/ city/ town/ village? Should TRAI revise the current provision that NCF for 2nd TV connection and onwards in multi-TV homes should not be more than 40 per cent of declared NCF per additional TV?,” the consultation paper questioned.

Currently, DPOs are allowed to provide a maximum discount of 15 per cent on sum of MRP of a-la-carte channels in a bouquet while fixing the MRP of that bouquet. However, DPOs have sought parity with broadcasters which are allowed to provide a maximum discount of 45 per cent on sum of a-la-carte channel prices. Hence TRAI has sought stakeholder views on whether there is a need to review this 15 per cent cap on discounts.

Free to air channels

It has also sought views on whether there should be provision to “mandatorily provide the free to air news / non-news / newly launched channels available on the platform of a DPO to all the subscribers”. It has also asked stakeholders whether channels available on DD Free Dish platform should be “mandatorily made available” as free to air channels for all the platforms including all the DPOs.

The regulator has also sought views on many other issues in the consultation paper including carriage fees and quality of service regulations. “Whether the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) for consumer convenience should display —only MRP or MRP alongside DRP or DRP only:?,” it added.

It has also sought views on Platform Service Channels guidelines of I&B Ministry.





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