Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) National Tariff Order has been widely criticized, and many broadcasters and consumers have opposed it.
We continue to see the outcomes of the NTO and the revised version of this order, NTO 2.0, even now. Subscribers must first purchase channel “slots” from the cable operator, known as the Network Capacity Fee, set at a maximum of Rs 130.
At this price, the consumers get access to 100 channels, either FTA or paid as a-la-carte. But, in these 100 channels, 25 were being occupied by the mandatory channels, but now this has changed.
The Mandatory Channels
As per this rule, when the subscribers buy 100 channel slots from the cable operator, they are eligible to add fee FTA channels in those, hence keeping their monthly payment constant at Rs 153 (included taxes), or if they wish to pay more and watch specific tracks, they can add paid channels from certain broadcasters as well.
The presence of 25 mandatory channels means that the subscribers only get 75 slots to fill in their choices for channels that they want to watch. If their choices exceeded this number, they would have to pay more NCF to increase their channel capacity to 200.
Rajya Sabha TV And Lok Sabha TV
With the split of Rajya Sabha TV and Lok Sabha TV, which were one channel a few months back, this mandatory channel number increased to 26.
Lok Sabha TV will continue to broadcast live proceedings of the Lok Sabha, while Rajya Sabha TV will broadcast those of the Rajya Sabha under the banner of Sansad TV.
“During the inter-session period and beyond the working hours of Parliament, both variants will broadcast common programming to a large extent. The RSTV platform would broadcast programs in English, whereas the LSTV platform would broadcast programs in Hindi. A top official said, “the two language variants allow for better branding and increased viewership.”
Subscribers of all DTH companies like D2h, Tata Sky, and others are seeing this change. This means that subscribers now have one more undersized slot to put in their channel of choice.
The total number of independently selectable channels in the Rs 130 NCF cost has come down further to 74. It’s worth noting that the government has floated tender for a new track called DD International, which if goes live and is added to the mandatory list, then the open channel slots in the same NCF price will go down to 73.