Broadcasting service regulator Trai has initiated a consultation process on whether there is a need to differentiate subscribers of cable and satellite TV services as ordinary and commercial for norms related to carriage and tariff.Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) also wants a decision to be taken as to what should be the basis for such a classification, if it is decided that subscribers need to be differentiated during the consultation process. Trai released a consultation paper on ‘Tariff issues related to commercial subscribers’ to discuss these issues.

In a statement released here, Trai said that in accordance with the Supreme Court, the regulator after following due consultation process had notified the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Second) Tariff (Twelfth Amendment) order and the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Fourth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff (Fourth Amendment) order on July 16, 2014. These two tariff amendment orders prescribing the tariff framework for commercial subscribers were challenged before Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), which had set them aside, Trai said.

“Trai was asked to examine the issue afresh and come out with a new Tariff dispensation for commercial subscribers within six months from the date of its order,” the regulator said in its statement. Through the consultation process, Trai said, it wants to examine various criteria for classification of subscribers of TV services and the need for differential tariffs amongst different categories.

It also wants to examine as to who should prescribe the tariffs for different subscriber categories and also the adequacy of the present framework to ensure transparency and accountability across the value chain for commercial subscribers so as to effectively minimise disputes and conflicts among stakeholders.