TRAI justifies need for dual CAS rates

31 Oct 2006

(The Economic Times via NewsEdge) The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has informed the Supreme Court that to ensure an orderly growth of the telecom sector in the country, it is necessary to have differential tariffs for commercial and non-commercial subscribers of conditional access system (CAS).

In a submission before the Supreme Court, TRAI said it was well within its rights to adopt a suitable methodology to fix differential tariffs for the two types of users.

TRAI's submission was in response to a petition filed by the Association of Hotels and Restaurants, which challenged an order of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) that upheld the dual rates.

The TDSAT order justified higher tariffs for hotels and restaurants saying that they were not household subscribers.

The matter is likely to be decided by year's end as the conditional access system for accessing satellite TV channels will have to be rolled out in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata by December 31.

The Hotels and Restaurant Association had asked the court to restrain broadcasters from charging higher subscription rates for CAS. The association argued against the TDSAT order, which held that hotels and restaurants were neither subscribers nor consumers.

TDSAT said the broadcasters were well within their right to demand extra charges for CAS signals.

TRAI's submission stated that it had a statutory obligation to fix such rates, since Section 11 of the TRAI Act 1997 empowered it for such things.

Its domain covered fixing differential tariffs for commercial and non-commercial subscribers, TRAI said, adding that it was up to the regulator to decide what methodology should be adopted to fix dual tariffs.

© 2006 The Economic Times

© 2006 Dialog, a Thomson business. All rights reserved

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