From Monday, all free-to-air foreign channels are off
The government has said that from July 1, all paid foreign channels will be closed. The government has informed that such a situation has arisen because the books (packages of channels) have not been received as requested for the ‘Ala Carte’ fee system.
After the Indian pay TV channel broadcasters said that they will not support the implementation of Nepal’s ‘ala cart’ system, the Department of Information and Broadcasting issued a statement and appealed to all concerned to strongly support the government’s decision.
Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation, the umbrella organization of Indian channels, has written to the Department of Information and Broadcasting and informed that it is not acceptable to create a book of channels and set prices for each channel separately. As a response, the government has informed that the broadcast of foreign channels has stopped.
In a statement issued by the spokesperson of the department, Sudeep Bhattarai, it is mentioned that there was an obstacle to implement the ala cart system because the Sarka did not pay the bills and fees as per the demand. Even though the government has made a rule that the foreign channels bought by paying money from abroad must be booked and the prices of each channel in such a booking must be paid separately, no one is ready.
The package providers of Sony, Zee, Discovery, Star, Colors, HBO and other foreign channels have not offered the packages, their price and the per unit price of the channels in the package. Such channels have designated representatives in Nepal. They used to sell packages of such channels to television service distributors here.
However, when the government was not ready to provide the book and its price as per the demand, the government came to the conclusion of stopping all paid foreign channels. According to sources, the department has already written to all foreign signal distributors and operators who bring packages of foreign channels with details of bookings and fees to stop broadcasting from July 1.
The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology decided to implement the ‘Ala Carte’ price system on television (TV) services on 15th March, 2079.
According to the National Broadcasting Regulations, 2052, this system has been implemented in order to make transparent, systematic and scientific the fees charged by the licensed organizations that distribute the signals of television channels in Nepal (such as: Cable, MAO, DTH, IPTV, MMDS, DTTB).
According to the ministerial decision, the fee has been determined according to the ‘ala cart’ price system. According to this, the minimum (basic) package fee has been fixed at 250 rupees per month.
Under the basic package, the broadcasting organization has to show Nepali television channels and foreign free-to-air television channels to the consumers. Such television channels should contain informational, news, educational, entertaining, sports, etc. content.
For broadcasting free channels, a fee can be charged from the consumer separately or on the basis of the ‘book’ of channels. The maximum value of each ‘bouquet’ is 40 rupees only.
There is a provision that no more than 250 rupees per month can be taken from consumers for free television channels. Paid television channels should contain informational, news, educational, entertaining, sports, etc.
There is a rule that consumers cannot be charged more than 500 rupees per month for the time being, the fee for the basic package is 250 and the maximum fee for the paid package is 250.
However, since the paid channels do not come within the scope of the rules, the government has said that it has come to a situation where the transmission of channels with downlink permission, which is bought by paying money, has been stopped.
Now from July 1, the facility of exchange of foreign currency carried by foreign channels will be stopped due to the broadcasting of paid channels in Nepal that have downlink permission in Nepal.
As the money collected from the consumers will stop going abroad through the distributor, the situation has come to the point where the foreign channel is closed in Nepal.
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