Discount/waive off on NCF for extra TV connection must be uniform in a target market: TRAI

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a clarification stating that the discount or waive off on network capacity fee (NCF) for the second or additional TV connection should be uniform in the target market area of respective distribution platform operator (DPO).

It also stated that the discount should be duly declared by the DPO on their website. The regulator noted that few service providers have started offering the discount/ complete wave off of NCF on second/additional TV connections in the home.

According to TRAI, few subscribers have raised the issue regarding the price of the second/multi-TV connection at home. The authority clarified that the regulation provides a capping of Rs. 130/- as NCF for 100 SD channels and Rs. 20/- for the slab of next 25 SD channels.

“Further, the regulation does not prohibit the service providers to offer a discount or lower NCF for second/additional connections in same location/ home,” it stated.

The TRAI’s new framework came into effect on 29th December 2018. However, to provide sufficient time to subscribers for exercising their options, the authority provided time up to 31st January 2019. The DPOs had to migrate the subscribers as per their choice with effect from 1st February 2019.

The new framework promotes consumer choice and enables subscribers to pay for what they really watch. The new framework has been designed after balancing and providing for the proportionate revenue for various service providers in the service provisioning value chain.

The basic architecture of the framework provides for fair competition among broadcasters and the real prices will be discovered after a few months of market play. The analysis of preliminary data of few large DPOs reflects actual savings by subscribers to the tune 10 to 15% in Metro Towns and between 5 to 10% in Non-Metro (DAS 3 and 4) areas.

The consumer has complete freedom to choose their desired 100 Standard Definition (SD) channels within the network capacity fee of maximum Rs. 130/-. The desired channels could be in a-la-carte Free to Air channels or Pay channels or bouquet of pay channels or any combination thereof. The choice completely rests with the consumers.

DPOs are providing various options to consumers to exercise their choice. These methods include Personal contact by Local Cable Operator, Calling on Call Centre Number, Using Mobile Apps or through DPO Website.

The authority stated that the new regime empowers the subscribers to change their choices whenever they desire. They can add or delete channel for a month or far multiple months, at the end of each billing cycle, thereby providing enough flexibility. All the subscribers are requested to choose wisely and select those channels that they wish to watch.