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TRAI Proposes Rs 130 Monthly Rental For 100 TV Channels Per Set Top Box!

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Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has proposed a uniform tariff structure for accessing TV channels via set top box, across India. A new consultation paper has been floated regarding the same, and opinions are welcomed from all stakeholders and Indian citizens.

As per the proposal by TRAI, a monthly rental of Rs 130 has been proposed for accessing 100 standard definition TV channels, per set top box, per month. This amount is excluding taxes.

In their latest notification titled “Telecommunication (broadcasting and cable services) (eighth) (addressable systems) tariff order, 2016”, TRAI said, “A need was felt to evolve a tariff structure that enables the consumers with the freedom to choose from an array of attractive and affordable a-la-carte and bundled television broadcasting services as per their preferences and paying capacity..”

Once approved, these guidelines would be implemented effective April 1, 2017.

Last year, TRAI had issued DTH Portability Framework for all broadcasters and distributors, with the aim of making portability easier and efficient.

Some major highlights from the consultation paper for regulating tariff for TV viewing via set top boxes:

a) Distributors of TV channels have to offer one bouquet of 100 free to air TV channels, which is called as ‘Basic Service Tier’ at a rental of Rs 130 per set top box (excluding taxes). Central Govt. will provide a list of all mandatory channels which would be provided under this bouquet of channels.

b) Additional TV channels would be provided at a slab of 25 SD channels at a cost of Rs 20 per slab, per set up tox in case the viewer wants to view additional TV channels besides these basic 100 free to air channels. Taxes are excluded in this charge.

c) For premium or pay channels, the subscriber needs to pay extra, as determined by the distributor of DTH services.

d) Besides Rs 130 per set top box for 100 free to air SD channels, the subscriber should not pay anything extra.

e) Genre-vise ceiling of MRP of each channel has been proposed, details of which would be shared later.

f) Charges payable by a subscriber for network capacity and content has been separated

g) Distributors of TV channels such as cable TV networks and DTH providers can form their own bouquets from a-la-carte channels by broadcasters; however, the retail price of such a bouquet should not be less than 85% of the sum of retail prices of each individual pay channel under the bouquet.

h) Broadcasters are free to form a-la-carte of premium channels, on which TRAI has proposed no ceiling of prices. However, broadcasters are mandated to declare their MRP of each a-la-carte premium/pay channels beforehand.

The proposal has been made to induce transparency, non-discrimination and to protect consumer interests for an ‘orderly growth of this sector’.

Stakeholders and TV subscribers can share their comments and opinions on this consultation paper latest by October 24th, 2016 by emailing at or vk.agarwal@trai.gov.in.

You view the consultation paper here.

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