Carriage fee not to reach astronomical figures: TRAI

New Delhi: Seeking to address the concerns of News Broadcasters, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chief J S Sarma Friday by saying that "carriage fee" in the cable sector was expected to stay within a particular range and not reach astronomical figures.

"I would think that anything above 50 paise, per channel, per subscriber, per year would be actually something that needs to be noticed….anything above that would definitely need attention," Sarma said in an interview to a TV channel.

"In other words we would watch if it is going beyond a particular range or is it not," he added. Sarma said TRAI had allowed fee for carriage of channel but not allowed any placement fee.

"Obviously we don`t want any astronomical figures. This is meant for carriage of the channel, it is not any other money….because we are saying no to placement fee,"Sarma said in the interview.

Earlier, representatives of News Broadcasters Association (NBA) on Friday met TRAI officials to express their concerns regarding carriage fee. Carriage fee is the money that channels pay to Multi System Operators (MSOs) or Local Cable operators (LCOs) to get their content to reach the viewer.

As per the new TRAI regulations MSOs can charge carriage fee provided they publish their charges in a in the Reference Interconnect Offer and apply it a uniform, non-discriminatory and transparent manner.

However, the News Broadcasters have voiced disappointment with TRAI`s carriage fee provision in the latest regulations for Digital cable.

The NBA had said TRAI`s new Notification had actually legalised the practice of carriage fees and given distributors the freedom to unilaterally set the amount of carriage fees broadcasters must pay.