The News Broadcasters Association has severely criticized the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (Trai) new notification, Tariff Order and Interconnection Regulations for Digital Addressable Cable TV Systems saying this unfairly penalises broadcasters and threatens the very survival of the broadcasting industry.
The notification allows multi system operators to charge a 'carriage fee' from broadcasters. "It has legitimised the very practice the NBA had hoped would be ended the payment of steep 'carriage fees' by broadcasters, "said the NBA.
NBA says that digitisation aims at increasing the number of channels giving consumers greater choice. It also intends to eliminate the phenomenon of 'carriage fees', which MSOs had been charging due to capacity constraints.
"The NBA is distressed and disappointed that Trai's new notification has actually legalised the practice of 'carriage fees' and given distributors the freedom to unilaterally set the amount of 'carriage fees' broadcasters must pay, "the Association said in a statement .
"Keeping in view the fact that substantial investment for implementation of Digital Addressable Cable TV Systems is made by the MSO and the cost involved in carriage of channels, the Authority has decided that every MSO may fix the carriage fee. However, it should be published in the Reference Interconnect Offer and applied in a uniform, non discriminatory and transparent manner. The carriage feecannot be revised upward for a minimum of 2 years. The Authority would intervene in case it is felt that the carriage fee is unreasonable,"Trai said in its order dated April 30, 2011.