In the ongoing dispute between broadcasters and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has dismissed the plea of broadcasters to stay the a la carte tariff order for non-CAS areas. This means that broadcasters would now have to declare a la carte rates of their channels. TRAI has said that it would take punitive action against broadcasters if they do not adhere to the decision.
Roop Sharma, President, Cable Operators Association of India (COAI), said that she was happy with what TDSAT has done. “TDSAT has asked TRAI to enforce a la carte tariff order. The decision has come in favour of the consumer interest. The broadcasters will now have to declare a la carte rates of their channels,” she said.
The broadcasters earlier contended that there was no addressability mechanism to detect, whether consumers were availing the benefit on a la carte basis or not.
TRAI had earlier said that the prices for the channels by each broadcaster would have to be declared on an a la carte basis, which the MSOs had been demanding for a long time now in the non-CAS.
Some of the broadcasters had taken TRAI to court and appealed to the sector tribunal to issue a stay order, and eventually quash the Tariff Order of October 4, 2007, for non-CAS areas.
TDSAT disallows stay to broadcasters’ petition against pricing in non-CAS areas