Cable operators will have to carry a minimum package of 30 free-to-air channels at Rs 77. As a result, monthly cable bills in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata will crash from an average of Rs 200 a month now to under Rs 120, effective January 1, 2007. But cable operators are likely to oppose the Trai directive.
A set-top box (STB) will be available on a monthly rent of Rs 30, with a refundable deposit of Rs 999 under a standard package. But, multi-system operators will have the liberty to provide other packages as well so that subscribers have a choice.
To arrive at the MRP of pay channels, Trai has taken into consideration the recent order of the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) in the STAR TV-Zee case on the direct-to-home TV pricing. TDSAT asked STAR to provide its 14 channels to Dish TV at Rs 27. We have taken this pricing as a benchmark to set the ceiling price for pay channels, sources said.
CAS is a technology platform that will allow consumers to pay only for channels they want to watch.