NCF stands for Network Capacity Fee that TRAI has mandated operators to charge from the DTH subscribers. It came into effect starting from February 2020 with an aim to reduce the monthly cost for subscribers. NCF charges are set by the regulator and all the DTH operators charge the subscribers as per the channels slab they opt for.
There are only two NCF slabs and the price varies based on the number of channels and the type of connection – primary or secondary. Let us dive into all the technicals surrounding the Network Capacity Fee (NCF).
What is Network Capacity Fee (NCF)?
NCF is the charge levied by the DTH operator on the subscriber. The cost of NCF is calculated based on the number of channels a subscriber adds to their DTH account. For a set of 200 channels, TRAI has set an NCF fee of Rs 130 per month (excluding 18 percent GST). If a subscriber wishes to add more than 200 channels, then the NCF charge amounts to Rs 160 per month (excluding 18 percent GST). These channels can include free-to-air (FTA) and paid channels.
For example, a person has opted for a new DTH primary connection from Tata Sky. The minimum NCF charge they have to pay to Tata Sky is Rs 130 plus 18 percent GST, which comes to Rs 153.40 per month. With this, they only get free-to-air (FTA) channels like Doordarshan, a few news, entertainment, movie channels that are not very popular. By default, the customer gets 100 to 150 such free-to-air channels from Tata Sky.
The customer then adds popular pay channels to the DTH account, for which Tata Sky has two kinds of packages – Tata Sky Packs, Add-on and Regional packs. By adding pay channels to the existing base pack containing free-to-air channels, the total number of channels have now reached to 200. For this, the customer will have to pay a network capacity of Rs 153.40 (including 18 percent GST), plus the cost of the paid channels.
A month later, the customer wants to add Star Sports channels to watch live cricket. Now, the total number of channels comes to 201, which is above the first slab. The customer is now charged Rs 188.80 (Rs 160 + 18 percent GST), plus the cost of paid channels.
In case you are wondering about the NCF charge for DTH secondary connections, then here is the answer. For subscribers opting for secondary connections, TRAI has made NCF cheaper and the pricing details are as below:
- For channels below 200, the company will charge Rs 52 (Rs 61.36 including taxes)
- If the subscriber opts for more than 200 channels, then the operator will charge Rs 64 (Rs 75.52 including taxes)
Is the NCF charge the same for both SD and HD channels?
DTH subscribers may opt for a mix of SD and HD channels depending upon how they want to watch on their TV. In that case, TRAI has a slightly different definition. An SD channel equals to 1 channel, and 1 HD channel will be counted as 2 SD channels. Let’s take a scenario for better understanding of the concept.
- Subscriber A opted for 200 SD channels, their NCF charges will be Rs 153.40
- Subscriber B opted for 100 SD channels and 50 HD channels, their NCF charges will be the same 153.40 (50 HD channels are counted as 100 SD channels)
- Subscriber C opted for 100 SD channels and 75 HD channels, their NCF charges per month will be Rs 188.80. (75 HD channels are counted as 150 SD channels. So, 100 + 150 = 250)
Is it mandatory to pay Network capacity fee?
Yes, NCF is the minimum monthly cost that a subscriber needs to pay to their DTH operator. If a subscriber wishes to watch the paid channels, they have to pay the additional amount over and above NCF.
Do all DTH operators charge NCF fee?
Yes, all DTH operators, including Tata Sky, Dish TV, d2h, Airtel Digital, and Sun Direct charge Network Capacity Fee (NCF) as per TRAI guidelines. Find below the complete details of NCF charges levied by the DTH operators for the first and second connection.
|First Connection||Second Connection Onwards|
|Up to 200 Channels (Price inclusive of taxes)||Above 200 Channels (Price inclusive of taxes)||Up to 200 Channels (Price inclusive of taxes)||Above 200 Above 200 Channels (Price inclusive of taxes)|
|Airtel Digital||Rs 153.4||Rs 188.8||Rs 61.36||Rs 75.52|
|Tata Sky||Rs 153.4||Rs 188.8||Rs 61.36||Rs 75.52|
|Dish TV||Rs 153.4||Rs 188.8||Rs 61.36||Rs 75.52|
|d2h||Rs 153.4||Rs 188.8||Rs 61.36||Rs 75.52|
|Sun Direct||Rs 153.4||Rs 188.8||Rs 61.36||Rs 75.52|