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Cable TV digitisation: TDSAT allows MSOs to charge placement fee

The TDSAT was of view that MSOs can charge placement fee from broadcasters for keeping their channels in a particular slot and TRAI's regulation to curb it was "bad in law"

 
New Delhi: Ahead of roll out of cable TV digitisation, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has upheld certain broadcast regulatory clauses allowing customers to select a combination of 100 free-to-air channels for basic plan, reports PTI.
 
The tribunal largely consented with the tariff order and regulation of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). It also gave a go ahead to the TRAI's revenue sharing mechanism between the local/area cable operator (LCOs) and the multi-system operators (MSOs).
 
The tribunal also set aside some restriction put on MSOs by TRAI on placement fee, number of channels and carriage fee.
 
The TDSAT was of view that MSOs can charge placement fee from broadcasters for keeping their channels in a particular slot and TRAI's regulation to curb it was "bad in law".
 
The TDSAT bench headed by its Chairman Justice S B Sinha said, "The restriction placed on the MSO for demanding placement fees in terms of May 2012 Regulation are bad in law as the same restriction is not applicable for the DTH operator. Placement charges, if any, will depend upon the mutual agreement between the broadcasters and the MSO."
 
"The direction that the MSOs must set up head-ends having carrying capacity of 500 channels is set aside.
 
"If the market forces play an important and significant role in the matter of carrying capacity of the MSO, the same may not be required to be regulated," said TDSAT in its 77-page-long judgement.
 
Cable services in the country's four metros are slated to go completely digital by November 1 as per the deadline set by the government.
 

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