TRAI has released a consultation paper on issues relating to commercial tariff for broadcasting and cable television services. Previously, TRAI had freezed the tariffs for commercial cable users.
The previous tariff order dated October 1, 2004 did not distinguish between commercial and other services. Hearing a petition filed by a couple of associations of hotels and restaurants against leading broadcasters on whether hotels and restaurants could be equated with domestic consumers for the provision of cable TV service, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) had passed a judgment asking the telecom regulator to consider whether it was necessary or not to fix the tariff for commercial purposes in order to bring about greater degree of clarity and to avoid any conflicts and disputes arising in this regard.
Accordingly, TRAI had passed an interim order sealing the tariffs applicable to commercial cable subscribers at the rates prevailing on March 1, 2006.
The major issues that requires to be decided includes whether tariffs for commercial purposes be fixed or not, how to define commercial consumers and differentiate them from non-commercial consumers and method through which it has to be fixed. TRAI has sought inputs from all concerned by May 12, 2006.