The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has written to the Bombay High Court seeking an early listing of the case to pronounce the order on amendments to the tariff order also known as NTO 2.0 for the broadcast sector.
TRAI said in the application that the new tariff order is expected to bring benefits to the consumers along with more transparency but because of the delay in its implementation consumers are suffering as those benefits are not being passed on to them.
The new tariff order and broadcast regulations were notified on January 1st, 2020 and it was to be implemented by March 1st, 2020 but IBF, TV and Films Producers Guild of India and other TV channels moved to Bombay High Court challenging the new regulations. Due to the legal blockade, NTO 2.0 is only partially with all pay DTH platforms compliant with the regulations since the first week of March 2020.
The matter was heard by the Bombay High Court on a day-to-day basis between February 26th to March 4th, 2020 and an order was reserved but due to COVID-19 lockdown, the matter was delayed. Then on July 24th TRAI instructed all broadcasters to publish their new Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO) complying with the NTO 2.0 by 10th August, post which Zee Entertainment and TV18 Broadcast Limited moved back to Bombay High Court.
The High Court adjourned the matter before the earlier bench which had heard the matter and ordered TRAI to not take any coercive action against TV channels for not implementing the tariff order. Bombay HC was expected to deliver the judgement on August 24th but they chose to hear the broadcasters and TRAI to deliver a proper judgement instead of an interim one. The division bench of justices AA Sayed and Anuja Prabhudessai heard the matter for final disposal throughout September – October, and the order was reserved by the court.
The regulatory body believes that NTO 2.0 will be helpful for customers to choose channels they want to watch. The order puts a limit on discounts offered by broadcasters on bouquet pricing. It says that the sum of the a-la-carte channels in a bouquet should not be more than 1.5 times that of the bouquet price and the MRP of channels in bouquet is reduced from Rs 19 to Rs 12.