Trai raises cable television rates by 7%
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the telecom and broadcast regulator,announced an increase of about 7% in cable television rates in both CAS-notified and non-CAS (conditional access system) areas in the country.
The increased tariffs will be applicable from January 1, 2009.
After the increase, a viewer will have to pay Rs 5.37 per channel in the CAS-notified areas of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. Earlier, the rate was Rs5 per channel.
Cost of the basic service — that is 30 free to air channels — will also go up to Rs 82 per month instead of the existing Rs 77 while cable prices in non-CAS areas will increase by 7%. These prices — to be enforced by January 1are excluding taxes.
So if you're living in a metro city where CAS has not been implemented, your cable bill will go up from Rs 160 to Rs 171 for 20 pay channels and 30 free to air (FTA) channels. If you get more than 20 but up to 30 pay channels, your monthly bill will go up from Rs 200 to Rs 214.
Those in major cities like Agra, Amritsar, Dehradun, Dhanbad, Jamnagar, Nashik and Varanasi will end up paying Rs 150 instead of Rs 140 for 20 pay and 30 FTA channels. For viewers receiving over 30 pay channels, the cost will go up from Rs 170 to Rs 182.
Despite a minimal hike in cable charges, the consumer will be hit hard after the taxes kick in.
But it's not all bad news. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has directed that security deposit and monthly rental for set-top boxes should be cut down. Security deposit for set-top boxes has been brought down from Rs 250 to Rs 200 and monthly rental will decrease from Rs 45 to Rs 34.
Some service providers offer a second scheme where security deposit given by the viewer is Rs 999. This has been reduced to Rs 750 while monthly rental has come down from Rs 30 to Rs 22.