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Trai likely to fix non-CAS cable,DTH tariff by May 31
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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Thursday told the Supreme Court that tariff fixation for direct-to-home (DTH) services required to be considered in the light of entire distribution market, including cable services in the country, seeking time to complete the exercise.

Tariff fixation exercise for non-conditional access system (CAS) cable sector is likely to be concluded by May 31, 2010, said Trai in its application.

“The application authority respectfully submits that the content provided by the broadcaster is the same for CAS, non-CAS, DTH platform. Therefore, the cost of content production remains almost the same for all. The entire market is required to be considered in a holistic and comprehensive manner. Tariff fixation exercise for non-CAS cable sector is likely to be concluded by May 31, 2010,” said Trai in its application filed through counsel Sanjay Kapur.

Trai said, it has taken appropriate steps regarding the fixation of tariff for cable services in non-CAS areas.
The regulator further said: “The applicant authority is seeking time to complete the tariff regulation exercise in respect of DTH services alongside the finalisation of the eventual tariff dispensation for the non-CAS cable distribution sector”.

“The DTH tariff fixation issue requires to be considered in the light of the analysis of the entire distribution market, including cable TV services and the entire matter is to be considered in a holistic and comprehensive manner and appropriate regulatory decisions suitable for each segment of the market may have to evolve based on such holistic approach,” said applicant.

Trai’s counsel Sanjay Kapur told a bench headed by justice GS Singhvi, due to repeated extensions of time sought by stakeholders on furnishing information necessary for fixation of tariff for cable services in non-CAS areas, the regulator had sought time from the court to complete the exercise. It’s application in this matter has been posted for hearing on January 18.

After hearing Trai’s plea, the court posted its application seeking time on fixation of DTH tariff for hearing on January 22.

There are six DTH providers in the country that cater to more than ten million subscribers compared with around 80 million subscribers of cable television. There is no proper tariff regulation formally provided by the Trai so far for DTH. But the market trend is such that the broadcasters are providing content to DTH operators at 50% of the rates at which these bouquets and channels are being offered to the non-CAS cable TV platform. It calls for the need for wholesale tariff regulation for DTH services.

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