The TDSAT direction came over the complaints filed by three MSOs who have sought that the broadcasting houses stay the unauthorised re-transmission of their signals in the state
New Delhi: The Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has hauled up channel distributing firms—Star Den, MSM Discovery and Zee Turner—for letting their signals be distributed illegally by a Punjab-based leading multi system operator (MSO) in Himachal Pradesh (HP) without getting necessary approvals, reports PTI.
It has said the three “shall also pay a sum of Rs25,000 each to the petitioner” MSOs of Himachal, which had brought the case before it.
Besides, TDSAT has asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to probe, if possible, the three firms’ role apprehending that without their ‘connivance’ the MSO, Fastway, could not have become a dominant player with 65% market share in HP.
“We are sending a copy of this order to the regulator (TRAI) only for the purpose of considering as to whether it is possible for them to enquire as to how the Respondent No 4 (Fastway), which is said to be dominating the field of broadcasting and cable services in the state of Punjab, had been permitted with the connivance of the broadcasters to sneak in the state of Himachal Pradesh to start its services without entering into any proper subscription agreement with the broadcaster and by the process acquired 65% of the market,” said the tribunal.
It also asked to send copies of its findings to the post master of Shimla and Solan which are statutorily authorised to issue license to cable operator and district magistrate of Shimla and Solan “for appropriate action on their part” against Fastway Transmissions.
“To us, it appears that (Fastway) had been able to acquire the market by reason of adopting a wrongful method for the purpose of frustrating any competition amongst the service providers...” the tribunal observed.
Star Den is a 50:50 JV between broadcasting houses Star India and DEN Networks for distribution of their TV channels.
Zee-Turner is a 76:24 JV between Zee Entertainment and Turner India Pvt Ltd, while MSM Discovery is a 74:26 JV between Multi Screen Media (Sony group) and Discovery Communications for distributing their channels.
The TDSAT direction came over the complaints filed by three MSOs—Solan Sat TV, Bridge View Broadband Network and Solan Communication. They have sought that the broadcasting houses stay the unauthorised re-transmission of their signals in the state.
They had also requested the tribunal to direct Fastway not to illegally encroach upon their authorised areas. As evidence they submitted CDs and its brochure.
The three broadcasters in their written replies had submitted before the tribunal that Fastway has not committed any act of piracy.
Moreover, they submitted that the complainant MSOs indirectly had sought for down-gradation in the amount of subscription fee payable to them, which could not be done directly.
Zee Turner had even termed them as defaulters.
TDSAT said it will not go into these issues right now.
However, its said, “Sufficient materials have been brought on record to show that Fastway, having regard to the fact that it has been paying a huge amount of subscription fee to them, and/or for other reasons which it had not disclosed, the Respondent No 1 and 2 (Star Den & MSM Discovery) must be held to have acted wrongfully”.
Besides, the three companies, TDSAT also imposed a cost of Rs1 lakh on Fastway.
The two leaders have reiterated their intention to promote regular ministerial-level exchanges and make full use of the strategic dialogue and other bilateral dialogue mechanisms
Rio de Janeiro: India and China have agreed to enhance their defence and security dialogue and take steps to achieve a bilateral trade target of $100 billion by 2015, reports PTI.
Prime minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao spoke of the need to continue with this dialogue at their 40-minute meeting on the sidelines of the Rio+20 Environment Summit here.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai said that during the discussion on trade and economic cooperation prime minister Singh invited Chinese investment in infrastructure in India.
Mr Mathai also said that Indian rice exports to China will commence soon.
Reflecting the good chemistry shared between them, Mr Wen told Mr Singh that their meeting in Brazil was the 13th.
Mr Mathai said the two leaders discussed the issue of trans-border rivers flowing in India and China during which Beijing agreed to transfer of data in this regard to New Delhi.
Official sources said this move sent a strong signal from China on sharing of information with India on the rivers issue. This was also important since India was a lower riparian country.
“Defence and strategic dialogue (between India and China) should continue and be stepped up,” Mr Mathai said.
The two countries have already agreed to establish a “strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity". They have also reiterated their intention to promote regular ministerial-level exchanges and make full use of the strategic dialogue and other bilateral dialogue mechanisms. Prime minister Singh also spoke of Indian naval ships recently visiting China.
Installing set top boxes in each cable viewing household is a precondition for digitalisation and even a fortnight before the 30th June, it was estimated that only 30% of households had acquired STBs
New Delhi: The government has deferred the digitalisation of cable TV services in four metros by four months to 1st November, from the earlier scheduled introduction date of 1st July, reports PTI.
The decision to defer the plan for switchover from analogue to digitalised signals, which promises better TV viewing, was announced by the government on Wednesday with a warning of strict penal action if the new deadline is not met.
“The ministry of information and broadcasting has decided to modify the 30th June deadline for a complete switch over to 31st October 2012,” the I&B ministry said in a statement after the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata were found to be grossly unprepared.
“All the TRAI regulations for Digital Addressable System will come into effect from 1st November, 2012,” the statement added.
It said that the assessment of ground realities compelled the I&B ministry to set a new deadline which would now be monitored more vigorously.
Digitalisation of the cable services in the entire country by December 2014 is one of the ambitious tasks that the I&B ministry has set for itself and the first step towards achieving this goal was its implementation in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai by 30th June.
Installing set top boxes (STBs) in each cable viewing household is a precondition for digitalisation and as per official sources even a fortnight before the 30th June, it was estimated that only 30% of households had acquired STBs.
“The seeding of STBs in cable viewing households was not satisfactory so a new deadline has been set. The state governments involved had sought an extension of six months till 31st December. However we have agreed to a postponement of deadline till 31st October and this time we plan to monitor it very strictly,” a senior official told PTI.
The ministry said that Multi System Operators (MSOs), Local Cable operators (LCOs) or other stakeholders could face action if they don’t match the new schedule.
“The Ministry of information & broadcasting will issue warning letters to those going slow on their written commitments. Needless to add that both, the I&B ministry and TRAI, will take action under the provisions of the Cable Act, wherever and whenever necessary,” the statement said.
The ministry said that it is “imperative that the modified target deadline is set with strict benchmarks to ensure that no complacency sets-in in the system and the new target date is achieved collectively by all the stakeholders.”
Officials said that the I&B ministry had the power to suspend or revoke the registration of Local cable operators (LCOs) or Multi System Operators (MSOs) if they violated one or more terms and conditions of registration which were mandatory under digitalisation.
“While the ministry has agreed to postpone the date for four metros, it also has the option of taking penal action against stakeholders who do not take the required steps to digitalise the cable services in the coming days,” a senior official said.