TDSAT reserves judgement in TRAI commercial subs matter

MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has reserved its order in the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) commercial subscriber tariff order case as the arguments have been concluded.

The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), Sony Pictures Networks India (earlier Multi Screen Media), ZEEL, and Viacom18 had sought a stay on the TRAI’s tariff orders dated 8 September 2015 for commercial subscribers in the tribunal. The Federations of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI), the apex body of hotels and restaurants in India, is also a party to the matter.

The main contention of the broadcasters is that the definition of the term ‘commercial subscriber’ in the tariff orders is erroneous as it creates a distinction between commercial and ordinary subscribers.

According to TRAI’s tariff orders, the subscribers who charge their clients separately to use the TV services will be classified as ‘commercial subscribers’, while all others will be ‘ordinary subscribers’.

Prior to notifying the tariff orders for commercial subscribers, the authority had issued a consultation paper in July after its earlier tariff orders putting commercial subscribers at par with ordinary subscribers was set aside by the TDSAT.

While setting aside the amended tariff order, the tribunal had asked the authority to undertake a fresh exercise on a completely clean slate and issue fresh tariff orders within six months. The tribunal’s order was challenged by the FHRAI in Supreme Court where it is still pending.

You may be interested