The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has declined to stay hike of 27.5% in tariff of Cable TV services in Non-DAS areas and adjourned the case to 5 January 2015.
In a brief order, the tribunal has put up the matter for hearing on 5 January, subject to part-hearing, if any. In case any matter has been part-heard till the last working day on 24 December, the tribunal will hear that matter first before hearing the non-addressable tariff hike matter.
The Centre for Transforming India, Home Cable Network and Lucknow 9 Cable Network had challenged the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) decision to hike non-addressable tariff by 27.5 per cent in two instalments.
Later, many cable operator associations, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), direct-to-home (DTH) operators like Dish TV, Airtel Digital TV and Videocon d2h, had joined as interveners. While IBF supported the TRAI decision, Cable operator associations and the DTH operators opposed it due to the impact that it would have on addressable system tariff.
Cable operators also pleaded that since digitisation is going on, rates have already gone up and a further increase of 27.5% will discourage consumers from getting a cable connection.
The SC has fixed addressable tariff at 42 per cent of the non-addressable rates.
Thus, tariff in DAS and DTH will also increase.
CTI counsel Aman Lekhi and Home Cable counsel Arun Kathpalia had requested staying the operation of the TRAI order. However, the tribunal had said that it was not inclined to pass any stay order at this stage.
The TRAI has filed its reply in the matter. It has contended that the regulator has followed due process before hiking the tariff. The tariff hike was undertaken since it had not been able to undertake that exercise since 2009. The tariff was revised to make adjustment for inflation.