TRAI defends amendments to New Tariff Order

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday issued a statement clarifying that the purpose of the latest amendments to its New Tariff Order (NTO) will help in addressing the teething issues faced by the consumers while balancing the interests of broadcasters as-well-as the DPOs to create a level playing field.

TRAI defends the amendments to New Tariff Order

TRAI said that the new framework introduced last year has been quite successful in harmonizing business processes, reduced disputes among stakeholders, brought clarity in channel pricing by displaying the price of every channel on electronic program guide to consumers and enabled transparent subscriber reporting which has ushered better tax compliance thereby improving government revenue.

Explicit revenue stream of Network Capacity Fee (NCF) and the MRP based pay channel prices have ensured that the revenues are distributed proportionately among broadcasters, however, the regulator added that intended benefit for consumers to enable the freedom of choice could not be achieved completely due to misuse of available flexibility by a group of service providers.

The authority stated that the amendment becomes necessary to curb misuse of pricing facility by few broadcasters because, after implementation of NTO, some broadcasters enhanced their channel prices drastically. “Such price increase is anti-consumer and forces regulatory interventions,” TRAI added.

The regulator explained that these amendments through NTO 2.0 have left the basic structure of the regulatory framework unchanged with very minor modifications targeted to address teething problems relating to smooth implementation. It reiterated that these amendments are providing complete freedom to broadcasters/ DPOs to price their services while ensuring that consumers get the freedom to choose the TV channels.

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