Broadcasters defy TRAI deadline to publish revised tariffs in line with Tariff Order 2020

Pay broadcasters have defied the deadline set by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) by not publishing their revised Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO) in line with TRAI Press Release No.1 of 2020 and Tariff Order 2020.

The regulator had set the deadline of January 15th for all the pay broadcasters to declare their revised tariffs. However, Mavis Satcom was the only broadcaster to declare its revised tariff by the time the deadline expired. The broadcaster has revised the price of its only bouquet from Rs 6 to Rs 8 to make it compliant with the twin conditions TRAI has set for the bouquet formation.

According to reports, all the other broadcasters have intentionally decided not to publish their revised tariffs. IBF and few other broadcasters have recently challenged the regulator’s new amendments and asked for interim relief from Bombay HC. However, the court didn’t grant any relief posting the matter on 22nd January.

The move to not follow the regulator’s deadline seems to be an attempt to wait and see if the broadcasters can get a stay from Bombay HC on 22nd January. The regulator is yet to take any action on the broadcasters’ defiance of its deadline. It usually grants a period of 7 days to reply to its show-cause notice which could help the broadcasters wait till the next court hearing unless TRAI takes any action that could force the broadcasters to publish their revised tariffs immediately.

The delay in the publishing of revised tariffs will lead to further delay in the publishing of curated packages from DTH and MSO operators which could, in turn, delay the selection of channels and bouquets by the user. In all likelihood, TRAI might have to push the 1st March 2020 deadline for switching over to the Tariff Order 2020 to a later date.

At the time of publishing, Mavis Satcom remained the only broadcaster to have complied with TRAI‘s directions. Given that it already has its license cancellation case to handle, the broadcaster seems to have avoided any further trouble. Interestingly, ETV Network earlier this morning has taken down its existing RIO, with the page now under construction. It is expected to publish its revised tariff shortly. It remains to be seen as to what decision the regulator takes next and if the broadcasters publish their revised tariff soon or hold on for the court hearing on January 22.

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