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Supreme Court stays telecom tribunal order; raises rates for DTH operators

New Delhi, April 18:

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the order of the broadcast tribunal TDSAT setting aside TRAI’s notification fixing 35 per cent of the rates paid by cable operators for TV channels and raised the same to 42 per cent.

A Bench comprising Mr Justice R.V. Raveendran and Mr Justice A.K. Patnaik stayed the order of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), which had set aside TRAI’s notification of July 21, fixing the price.

Passing an order on December 16, 2010, TDSAT had set aside sectoral regulator TRAI’s notification mandating that broadcasters charge from DTH and IPTV providers only up to 35 per cent of rates paid by cable operators for their channels.

However, the Bench on Monday increased the price band and fixed it to 42 per cent of the cable price to be charged by the broadcasters from the DTH operators. The Bench also added that the agreements between DTH operators and broadcasters, which are already in place, shall prevail.

TRAI Petition

The apex court’s direction came over a petition filed by TRAI, challenging TDSAT’s order. Broadcasters were earlier charging DTH operators half of what they got from cable operators.

On July 21, 2010, TRAI had notified that a new wholesale tariff structure would be effective from September 1, 2010, whereby broadcasters can charge only at 35 per cent of rates that they charged from normal cable operators while supplying service providers on platforms such as DTH, IPTV and HITS.

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