By Raju Vernekar
Ahead of implementation of the National Tariff Order (NTO) 2.0, Airtel Digital TV has hiked the Network Connection Fee (NCF) for Multi TV users, who now will have to pay Rs 100 as NCF every month for the first 100 channels. NCF is an amount that subscriber is required to pay to the service provider per month to keep the connection on.
Airtel Digital TV used to charge a reduced NCF of Rs 80 (taxes extra) for every Multi TV connection before the latest revision. Now, it will be charging Rs 100 (taxes extra) for 100 SD channels for all Multi TV connections. “NCF of Rs 100 (taxes extra) for 100 SD channels, for all multiple TV connections getting activated under the same account in a home. Additional NCF of Rs 20 (taxes extra) will be applicable for subsequent slots of 25 SD channels over and above the 100 channels,” noted Airtel Digital TV.
On the whole, Airtel Digital TV Multi TV users will now have to pay slightly higher NCF every month. For 100 channel users, the charges will be Rs 118 every month. As against this, Dish TV and D2h are charging just Rs 50 as NCF from every Multi TV user for the first 100 channels.
The National Tariff Order 1.0 by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has given full rights to DTH operators whether to provide any discount on NCF for Multi TV connections. While Tata Sky is charging full NCF even for secondary connections, other DTH operators are providing at least some discount.
Now the NTO 2.0, which will come into effect on first March, is expected to revise the Multi TV charges again as it allows a DTH or Cable TV operator to charge only a maximum of 40% NCF for Multi TV connections. As of now there is a tussle between broadcasters and TRAI, over the proposed hike.
TRAI has given full rights to DTH/Cable TV operators whether to provide any sort of discount on NCF for Multi TV users as part of the current tariff regime. When the NTO 1.0 became effective last year, Airtel Digital TV was amongst the three DTH operators who were charging discounted NCF from Multi TV users.
As part of the NTO 2.0, TRAI will be making some major changes to the Multi TV policies of DTH operators. TRAI has already confirmed that a DTH operator would only be able to charge 40% as NCF for Multi TV users from the overall charges of primary connection.
As of now, the initial slab of Rs 130 now offers all the 200 FTA channels. This means the maximum NCF for Multi TV users will be around Rs 64 every month. When implemented, this move will come as a massive relief for Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV users. Tata Sky is currently charging full NCF even from Multi TV users. And now, Airtel Digital TV has hiked the NCF for Multi TV connection holders. The new NCF charges are already live for Airtel Digital TV Multi TV owners.
The hike, however, will still keep Airtel’s multi TV NCF as the second-highest Multi TV NCF in the DTH industry. Tata Sky had earlier this year started charging Rs 130 plus taxes extra for Multi TV NCF which was then followed by cable operator Hathway charging the same amount as well. Dish TV and Dish TV owned d2h continue to charge Rs 50 plus taxes extra for Multi NCF. However, with Airtel Digital TV likely to merge with Dish TV and d2h one can expect them to revise their Multi TV NCF as well on par with Airtel later on.