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TRAI mulls DTH prices regulation
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Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has sought the opinion from various stakeholders, including players and citizen organisations, on whether direct-to-home (DTH) prices should be regulated like the cable and satellite (C&S) industry. The regulator had earlier specified a cap on C&S subscription charges.

Viewers in the Conditional Access System (CAS) areas pay a fixed amount per channel for receiving digital TV signals through a set-top box. The rent of the set-top box is also capped. The regulator has sought the industry's viewpoint on whether a similar cap should be imposed on DTH companies.

In a consultation paper, the regulator has also asked for viewpoints on whether the DTH subscribers should get to choose among individual channels, rather than being offered a bouquet of channels. Another issue is imposition of a ceiling on the carriage fee the broadcasters pay to the DTH operators.

TRAI pointed out that there are no laws currently to govern additional interactive services on the DTH platform, such as movie-on-demand and gaming. It said if these services are recognised as another TV channel, then DTH companies would be contravening regulations.

Therefore, TRAI has sought opinions on how these services should be classified and regulated so that the DTH service providers are not in violation of laws while taking care of subscribers' interest.

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