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TRAI temporarily freezes tariffs for commercial cable users

08-March-2006
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TRAI temporarily freezes tariffs for commercial cable users

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has passed an interim order sealing the tariffs applicable to commercial cable subscribers at the rates prevailing on March 1, 2006.

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.

Passing the order, TRAI said, ”The issue of need or otherwise to fix tariff for commercial purpose and the method and manner of fixing specific commercial tariff are connected issues and needs a detailed consultation and examination. The Authority is considering the course of action on this separately.”

To give effect to this, TRAI has issued a Tariff Amendment Order in which the words ‘Ordinary Cable Subscriber’ and ‘Commercial Cable Subscriber’ have been defined, and the definition of ‘charges’ has been amended and a new clause to give effect to the relevant date for determining the ceiling in respect of commercial cable subscriber has been introduced. “The proposed amendment is intended to be a short-term measure and would be reviewed on the basis of detailed examination,” TRAI said.

However, Roop Sharma, President, Cable Operators Federation of India, said, “As there is no specific rate prevailing for the commercial users, by sealing the rates TRAI has only shrugged off its responsibility.”

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