You may have to pay more for your DTH pack; TRAI to take a call

If the number of channels goes above 200, the NCF will go up to Rs 160. Photo Credit: istockphoto/ VasukiRao

New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has sought public response on whether the Network Capacity Fee (NCF), charged by the Direct-To-Home (DTH) service providers from consumers, should be reviewed. If the agency decides on raising the tariff, it will lead to a hike in DTH rates.

Presently, the TRAI has fixed Rs 130 (taxes additional) as the NCF for a package of 200 Standard Definition (SD) channels. If the number of channels goes above 200, the NCF will go up to Rs 160. The DTH companies, on their part, have proposed a hike in the rates along with subjecting them to annual revision based on the inflation index. If approved, the DTH companies will be able to hike the rates every year.

A handful of companies have also demanded the TRAI should withdraw the practice of fixing a limit to the NCF. The proposal, if implemented, will enable the companies to fix the rates on the higher slabs at will.

Holding that the customer base of DTH companies has shrunk with the advent of the OTT video platforms, a few companies have also sought TRAI’s support to ensure parity between the cost of services offered by the OTT video platforms and the DTH services.

The TRAI has also sought views on whether separate NCF slabs can be fixed for different states and for rural and urban areas.

The regulatory body currently set a ceiling of 40% on the NCF to be the charges that can be collected from household units in case of a second TV connection with the DTH facility. As per this, if the NCF for a package of 200 channels is Rs 130, the service provider can charge only Rs 52 for the second television set. The options for raising this rate too are being explored.

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