TRAI backtracks, says DTH rate cap only from 1 October

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's tariff notification capping the rates charged by TV channel broadcasters (DTH and IPTV service providers) at 35 per cent of the fee paid by normal cable operators will be applicable only from 1 October, the sector regulator told the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) today.

Earlier, under a notification issued by TRAI on 21 July, the rate cap was to be effective from 1 September 2010.

However, during today's proceedings of the TDSAT, before which broadcasters have challenged TRAI's tariff notification (See: Broadcasters move TDSAT against TRAI tariff order), its counsel Meet Malhotra informed the tribunal that the rate cap would be applicable from 1 October. 

"The new tariff between operators would become effective not before first week of October," said Malhotra in response to broadcasters' submission that the matter should be given an early hearing, as TRAI's new tariffs were to be implemented from 1 September.

TRAI had on 21 July notified that a new wholesale tariff structure, as per which broadcasters could charge for channels at only 35 per cent of the rate they charged from normal cable operators while supplying TV channels to service providers across various platforms such as DTH, IPTV and HITS.

Earlier, the broadcasters were charging DTH, IPTV and HITS service providers for channels at 50 per cent of the rate applicable for cable TV operators.