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DTH players seek removal of eight per cent licence fee to stay competitive

DoT is considering waiving the content licence fee for broadband services.

Mumbai: Direct-to-home (DTH) players have approached the government to waive the eight per cent license fee imposed on them that is in line with a similar proposal for broadband services so that they remain competitive in the market.

According to a PTI report, the industry body DTH association has approached the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) following a proposal under consideration of Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to waive the licence fee for broadband services.

In a letter dated 11 May sent to the I&B ministry, the industry body said the DTH volumes have been declining quarter on quarter for a while now and has put thousands of crores of investments and employment of over a lakh direct and indirect employees of the sector at risk.

The number of active subscribers with pay DTH operators decreased from 69.86 million at the end of June to 68.89 million by the end of September, according to latest Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) data.

It added that broadband is expanding very fast and is being used for content distribution as well.

The industry body welcomed the proposal to remove licence fees to help the consumers but requested that “the same policy may be applicable to DTH, and therefore seek a waiver of licence fees in line with DoT proposed decision.”

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has recommended the DoT to waive license fees on broadband services for five years.

“Now with the licence fee being waived for broadband, hence IPTV, OTT will become an even more formidable force and DTH will remain the only distribution platform paying an eight per cent content license fee while distributing just as cable, HITS, FreeDish, and IPTV do, making DTH the most uncompetitive in comparison to every other content distribution platform," the association said.

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