DTH operators seek 8% licence fee waiver from MIB
Faced with a declining subscriber base, the DTH Association has urged the ministry to waive the licence fee imposed on DTH operators
The Department of Telecom (DoT) is considering a proposal to waive the licence fee on broadband services. The DTH operators want the government to extend this policy to the DTH sector which is reeling under challenges.
In a letter dated May 11, the association said the paid subscriber base of DTH operators has been declining quarter on quarter putting the industry at risk. It also noted that the DTH industry has invested thousands of crores that have created over a lakh direct and indirect employment opportunities.
The letter, which was also marked to the Department of Telecommunications, stated that broadband is expanding fast and is being used for content distribution as well.
While welcoming the proposal to remove licence fees to help the consumers, the DTH Association requested "that the same policy may be made applicable to DTH, and therefore seek a waiver of licence fees in line with DoT’s proposed decision".
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended the DoT waive licence fees on broadband services for 5 years.
"Now with the licence fee being waived off for broadband, hence IPTV, OTT will become an even more formidable force, and DTH will remain the only distribution platform paying an 8 per cent licence fee while distributing just like cable, HITS, DD Free Dish and IPTV do, making DTH most uncompetitive in comparison to every other content distribution platform," the association said.
As per a recent TRAI report, the total active subscriber base of the four private direct to home (DTH) operators, Tata Sky, Airtel Digital TV, Dish TV, and Sun Direct, has decreased from 68.89 million in September 2021 to 68.52 million in December 2021.
The Union Government is looking to earn an estimated revenue of Rs 1035.02 crore from the broadcasting sector in 2022-23. The government’s revenue from broadcasting includes receipts of licence fee from direct to home (DTH) operators, Commercial Services (TV), Commercial Services (FM), and other receipts.
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