18 Jan 2017
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Madras HC adjourns Star and Vijay TV’s petition challenging TRAI’s draft tariff order to 19 Jan as the latter’s SLP in SC is listed for hearing on 16 Jan. Meanwhile, Union govt has come out in support of TRAI, stating that the regulator is within its rights to issue a tariff order for TV channels. It has also stated that the proposed tariff order is not in violation of the Copyright Act.
Chairman RS Sharma believes that TRAI and broadcasting sector are nearing solution to having interoperable STBs, which is one of the items on the regulator’s agenda this year.
ZEEL had challenged TRAI’s ‘twin conditions’ that state that (a) the a la carte rate of a pay channel forming part of a bouquet shall not exceed two times its RIO rate offered by the broadcaster for addressable systems; and (b) sum of a la carte rates of all the channels in the bouquet shall not exceed three times the bouquet rate.
TRAI has filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court against the order passed by the Madras High Court staying the consultation process on draft tariff order. It has argued that the matter is still under consultation stage and that it should be allowed to go ahead with the same.
The purpose of this stage of consultation is to proceed to final views on policy or regulatory interventions, where required, on the issue of net neutrality.
TRAI has released a draft direction on the delivery of broadband services in a transparent manner.
If telecom ops are allowed differential pricing for data services, it will create a situation akin to that in cable sector where broadcasters have to pay carriage fee to MSOs, Star said.
MSOs, LCOs and broadcasters have suggested some amendments to TRAI’s draft model and standard interconnection agreements. The stakeholders have different views on the time duration for termination of interconnect contract, TV signal piracy and migration of LCOs to any distributor of signals.
TRAI has recommended build-own-operate-transfer as one of the models for implementing BharatNet or the National Broadband Plan to expand the footprint of broadband networks nationally.
Raising the red flag against TRAI’s proposed twin conditions on regulating a la carte rates of the channels at the retail level, the DTH Association has said that the authority should first regulate the RIO rates or wholesale rates based on which the retail rates are derived.
The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India has filed an appeal against the TDSAT’s order that set aside TRAI’s tariff order on commercial subscribers. The appeal is expected to come up for hearing either next week or the week after that.
Considering the smaller reach of some of the ground-based broadcasters, a state should be taken as a unit and a reach in 15 or more states should be taken as a pan-India presence. Moreover, the states that are members of the North Eastern Council can be considered to be equivalent to one state.
While TRAI has recommended that no annual fees should be imposed on PS channels, it has suggested that a one-time registration fee of Rs 1,000 per PS channel should be charged.
TRAI has recommended that a maximum of 15 PS channels could be offered by the DPOs in DAS areas. In non-DAS areas, DPOs can offer a maximum number of five PS channels.
While allowing cable ops to run local ‘affairs’ channels, TRAI made it clear that there could be no transmit of national or international news by them. It also recommended that there is no need to bring FDI in line with the satellite news broadcasters.
The legal battle over RIO is on. Following Star India’s petition challenging the TDSAT order that stated RIO as becoming the starting point for any negotiation, the Delhi High Court has reserved its judgment.
TDSAT has directed Taj Television not to disconnect signals to DEN and its subsidiaries until the next hearing, provided they pay Rs 13.11 cr as dues for DAS and non-DAS areas.
The tribunal also directed the MSO to ensure that the LCO receives the IndiaCast and Taj Television channels.
The tribunal pulled up the MSO for allegedly indulging in piracy by airing Salman Khan-starrer ‘Bajrangi Bhaijan’ on its cable channel without permission from rights holder Star India.
TDSAT has directed the MSO to make an on-account payment of Rs 1.05 mn to Star India within a week, failing which the broadcaster can discontinue the supply of its signals.