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TRAI petitions to Bombay HC on NTO 2.0 case, seeks an early verdict

The case regarding the amended new tariff order (NTO 2.0) continues to remain sub-judice since the Bombay High Court reserved its order in the case in the hearing in September-October 2020. Now, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has petitioned the High Court, requesting it to pronounce an early verdict on the case.

It may be recalled that TRAI had notified the amended NTO 2.0 on January 1, 2020, which was to come into effect from March 1, 2020. However, some TV channels, along with Film & Television Producers Guild of India moved the High Court, challenging TRAI’s amended NTO 2.0. Reserving its order in the case, the Bombay High Court had directed TRAI to refrain from taking coercive action against the broadcasters not implementing NTO 2.0.

As per media reports, TRAI has requested the listing of the case within February, given the urgency involved and to bring in some clarity in the matter. TRAI further petitioned that it has not been able to implement the tariff order uniformly.

TRAI has maintained that the amended NTO 2.0 gives the consumers more power to choose and pay for the channels that they want to watch. Consumers can watch 200 TV channels for Rs 130 per month, this excludes the mandated Prasar Bharati channels. NTO 2.0 caps the price of a TV channel at Rs 12 per month to be part of a bouquet, as against Rs 19 earlier. Also, NTO 2.0 further mandates that the sum of the a-la-carte channels in a bouquet cannot exceed 1.5 times that of the bouquet price.

Meanwhile, some TV channels and Film & Television Producers Guild of India have challenged TRAI’s NTO 2.0 stating that TRAI’s capping of channel pricing doesn’t take into account the real cost of content acquisition, which is very high.

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