IBF welcomes Tariff Order, seeks clarity on Carriage

04 May,2012

By A Correspondent


The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has welcomed the initiatives taken by the I & B Ministry and TRAI in bringing about much needed reforms in the cable sector.


The Tariff amendments and the new Interconnect regulations for Digital Addressable Cable brought about by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will inject necessary transparency across the value chain. With a slew of consumer friendly measures – namely choice of packages and introduction of Basic Service Tier, TRAI has ensured that all subscribers of varied socio economic background are duly taken care of and provided for. IBF also welcomes the mandate to enhance the channel carrying capacity to a minimum of 200 channels wef July 1, 2012 and 500 channels wef January 1, 2013.


The new interconnect regulations have brought within its wake the much awaited specifications for digital addressability while at the same time laying down the eligibility criteria for availing signals. The reporting requirements will help the government in plugging leakages while the provisions on disconnection of signals will ensure that all stakeholders are aware of their rights and obligations.


Overall the Tariff Order and the Interconnect Regulations read with the amended Cable TV Act and Rules are steps in the right direction and will help the country to make the digital transition.


However, a big area of concern for Broadcasters is Carriage Fee. The Broadcasters have taken up this issue in various discussions with the TRAI and the Government in the past. Carriage Fee has crippled various broadcasters, especially the smaller sized companies, and it has restricted a broadcaster’s ability to invest in content and other activities of a channel. Therefore, there is an urgent need to revisit this issue and IBF will seek clarity on this matter from TRAI.


India is on the threshold of a digital makeover and IBF trusts that this will, over a period of time, make way for more freedom to stakeholders as digitalization acquires critical mass and the country gains more confidence in bridging the digital divide.


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