Get ready to pay more for another staple of your daily life: TV viewing. If a recent TRAI proposal is implemented, Conditional Access System (CAS) users in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata could soon end up paying 4 per cent or more for their monthly subscriptions.According to the TRAI notification, a subscriber in a Category A city who is receiving 35 free-to-air (FTA) and 35 pay channels and paying Rs 150 plus taxes as on December 1, 2007 can now be charged up to Rs 156 (Rs 150+4 per cent of Rs 150). However, the ceiling prescribed in the schedule is Rs 235 plus taxes, so this leaves scope for misuse.
The new order recommends that rates of new channels must match those of similar channels, and allows broadcasters the freedom to form channel bouquets any which way they like. It also requires broadcasters to continue providing the bouquets of pay channels as on December 1, 2007 without any change. The rates of such existing bouquets also must not be increased by more than 4 per cent.
Having implemented CAS in Chennai and parts of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, TRAI now want to extend it to the remaining parts of the three metros. It is also examining a report on digitalisation and introduction of CAS to 55 more cities in timebound manner.