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TRAI asks broadcasters to "ensure compliance" of the amended tariff order; directs to report by Aug 10

The regulator which the broadcasters say will ruin the business stated that the amendment is essential in order to promote orderly growth, balance the interests of service providers and safeguard the interest of the consumers

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued direction to all Broadcasters under section 13, read with section 11, of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997, to ensure compliance of various provisions of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eighth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff (Second Amendment) Order, 2020 dated 1st January 2020 and the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Interconnection (Addressable Systems) (Second Amendment) Regulations, 2020 dated 1st January 2020.

The regulator which the broadcasters say will ruin the business stated, "In order to promote orderly growth of the sector and to balance the interests of service providers and to safeguard the interest of the consumers, it is necessary to give effect to Tariff Amendment Order 2020 and Interconnection Amendment Regulations 2020 without any further delay."

Accordingly, the Authority, in exercise of its power under section 13 directed all the broadcasters to report to the Authority by 10.08.2020, "Name, nature, language, maximum retail prices per month of channels and maximum retail price per month of bouquets of channels, or composition of bouquets."

TRAI has also directed the broadcasters to report "Amended Reference Interconnected Offer (RIO) in compliance with the provisions of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eighth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff (Second Amendment) Order, 2020 and the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Interconnection (Addressable Systems) (Second Amendment) Regulations, 2020 dated 1st January 2020 and simultaneously publish such information on their websites."

It is worth mentioning here that at the beginning of the year, Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) had held a press conference and the members unitedly expressed their disappointment at TRAI's decision to amend the tariff order which came into full effect only in February 2019. In the middle of a pandemic when the media and entertainment sector is already counting losses, it remains to be seen how they respond to the directive.