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TRAI seeks to fix DTH tariff norms along with non-CAS cable TV services
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New Delhi, Sept. 5: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has filed an application before the Supreme Court seeking time to complete the tariff norms of Direct to Home (DTH) services, alongside the finalisation of the eventual tariff dispensation for the non-CAS cable distribution sector.

In the interlocutory application, filed by its counsel Mr Sanjay Kapur on Friday, TRAI said it was earlier asked by the apex court to submit its report on tariff dispensation for non-CAS cable TV services only by December 31, 2009.

The regulator sought extra time to complete the tariff fixation exercise so that it can be done in a proper and transparent manner after consulting all the stakeholders and pointed out that the tariff regulation of the DTH and cable TV services are closely linked. A Bench, comprising Mr Justice B. N. Aggarwal and Mr Justice G. S. Singhvi, adjourned the hearing of the matter to September 30.

TRAI application justified its request for extra time saying it was because “the tariff regulation exercise of the cable TV services is to be completed by December 31, 2009, and the tariff fixation issues requires to be considered in the light of the analysis of the entire distribution market including cable services.”

The regulatory body said that if it conducts a separate exercise for DTH services, it will be based on an incomplete appreciation of the factors affecting the DTH market.

“For ensuring orderly growth and with a view to protect the interests of all the service providers and the consumers of the broadcasting and cable sector, it is necessary that the entire matter is considered in a holistic and comprehensive manner and appropriate regulatory decisions suitable for each segment of the market are evolved based on such a holistic approach,” TRAI said in its application.

The Supreme Court, in July, had directed TRAI to decide on the issue within two months while dismissing an appeal filed by Tata Sky against an order of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) in this regard.

The apex court had also rejected separate Special Leave Petitions filed by broadcasters MSM Discovery and Star Den Media Services and Indian Broadcasting Foundation connected to the matter and asked TRAI to proceed with its consultations. TRAI filed the interlocutory application as the two-month period is coming to an end within a few days.

Deadline extended

Meanwhile, TRAI has extended till September 22,the time for submission of information by stakeholders on their financials and operations. The move comes following requests for extension of time from several stakeholders.

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