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TRAI releases comprehensive draft tariff order for DAS

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released the draft tariff order for digital addressable system (DAS) platforms in which it has proposed a slew of measures aimed at consumer protection while ensuring orderly growth of the industry.

TRAI also said that the emphasis of the draft tariff order is to ensure transparency and non-discrimination.

The authority has asked stakeholders to provide their comments on the draft tariff order. The deadline for providing comments is 24 October.

Salient features of the draft Tariff Order are: 

  • Broadcasters to declare maximum retail price (MRP) (excluding taxes) of their a-la-carte pay channels for subscribers.
  • A broadcaster can also offer bouquet(s) of its pay channels and declare MRP (excluding taxes) of bouquet(s) for subscribers. However, MRP of such bouquet(s) of pay channels will not be less than 85% of the sum of maximum retail price of the a-la-carte pay channels forming part of the bouquet.
  • Genre wise ceiling on MRP of channels have been prescribed.
  • Broadcasters can introduce ‘Premium’ channels which have no ceiling on MRP and will be offered to subscribers only on a-la-carte basis.
  • Distributors of television channels permitted to form bouquets only from a-la-carte channels of broadcasters. However, retail price of such bouquet of pay channels will not be less than 85% of the sum of retail prices of the a-la-carte pay channels forming part of the bouquet.
  • Separate bouquet for Pay and Free to Air channels.
  • Charges payable by a subscriber for network capacity and content have been separated.
  • Monthly rental amount of maximum Rs. 130 (excluding taxes) per set top box, to be paid by a subscriber to the distributor of television channels for a capacity of 100 SD channels.
  • Within the capacity of 100 SD channels, in addition to channels notified by the Central Government to be mandatorily provided to subscribers, a subscriber will be free to choose any free to air channel(s), pay channel(s), premium channel(s) or bouquet(s) of channels offered by the broadcasters or bouquet(s) of channels offered by the distributor of television channels.
  • No separate charges, other than the rental amount, to be paid by the subscribers for subscribing to free to air channels or bouquet of free to air channels.
  • The additional capacity, beyond initial one hundred channels capacity, can be availed by a subscriber in the slabs of 25 SD channels each, by paying an amount not exceeding Rs. 20/- per such slab, excluding taxes, per set top box per month.
  • A subscriber can chose a-la-carte channels of its choice.
  • A subscriber has to pay separate charges, other than the rental amount, for subscribing to pay channels or premium channels or bouquet of pay channels.
  • Distributors of television channels have to offer at least one bouquet, referred to as basic service tier, of 100 free to air channels including all the channels notified by the Central Government to be mandatorily provided to the subscribers.
  • Any bouquet, formed by either the broadcaster or the distributor of television channels will not contain HD and SD variants of the same channel as well as any premium channel.

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