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Stakeholders need to transition to NTO 2.0 in a time bound manner: TRAI

With the provisions of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) Tariff Amendment Order 2020 set to come into force from March 1, 2020, TRAI has urged all service providers concerned to take suitable steps to ensure that the consumers have enough time to make their choices of channels, so that the smooth transition takes place. 

The regulatory authority, in an official note, stated that several preparatory activities are to be carried out by service providers in a time bound manner. At the same time, it noted that so far, many broadcasters have neither reported nor published the requisite information in terms of the Tariff Order 2017 (as amended by the Tariff Amendment Order 2020). “It has also been observed from the information available on the websites of many broadcasters that most of the existing bouquets of pay channels are not in compliance with the provisions of the Tariff Order 2017 (as amended by the Tariff Amendment Order 2020),” TRAI mentioned in its statement. 

Moreover, quite a few DPOs have also not published the required information on their websites nor composition of new bouquets compliant to NTO 2.0 dated January 1, 2020 have been published. 

NTO 2.0 prescribes, inter alia, the following:

Broadcasters

“...any change in name, nature, language, maximum retail prices, per month, of channels and maximum retail price, per month, or composition of bouquets due to the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eighth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff (Second Amendment) Order, 2020, shall be:

(a) reported to the Authority at least 45 days prior to such change; and

(b) simultaneously published on the website of the broadcaster.” (Third proviso to sub-clause (1) of Clause 6 of the Tariff Order 2017)

Distributors (DPOs)

“...any change in network capacity fee, name, nature, language, distributor retail prices of pay channels, distributor retail price or composition of bouquet of pay channels and composition of bouquet of free-to-air channels, network capacity fee for each additional TV connection beyond first TV connection in a multi-TV home and long term subscriptions, as the case may be, due to the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eighth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff (Second Amendment) Order, 2020, shall be:

(a) reported to the Authority at least 30 days prior to such change; and

(b) simultaneously published on the website of the distributor.” (Third proviso to sub-clause (1) of Clause 7 of the Tariff Order 2017)

Accordingly, by January 1, 2020, all pay broadcasters were required to report to TRAI, and simultaneously publish on their website, any change in (a) retail prices, per month, of channels and bouquets; and (b) composition of bouquets. 

Likewise, by January 30, 2020, all DPOs were required to report to TRAI, and simultaneously publish on their website, any change in (a) network capacity fee; (b) distributor retail prices of pay channels; (c) composition of bouquets of pay channels; (d) composition of bouquets of free-to-air channels; (e) network capacity fee for additional connection beyond first connection in multi-TV homes; and (f) network capacity fee for long term subscriptions, as the case may be. 

Further, to ensure that consumers at large are kept fully appraised, all concerned are required to ensure that information about all such existing bouquets which do not conform to the provisions of NTO 2.0 and which shall not be available for the consumers on or after March 1, 2020 need to be suitably indicated on their websites.

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