Cable TV

Arasu says MIB can't enforce analogue switchoff in Chennai on 31 Dec '16

MUMBAI: Digital addressable system (DAS) or digitisation of India cable TV could well see a further slowdown if the Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation Ltd (TACTV) has its way. The government-owned Chennai-based MSO has written to the information and broadcasting ministry (MIB) saying that its order to broadcasters to shut off analogue signals by 31 December 2016 cannot be adhered to for the city.

The reason: the Madras High Court has yet to pass judgment on TACTV’s litigation with the MIB and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on the applicability of DAS regulations in Chennai and on the issue of a DAS licence to it.

TACTV had earlier applied to the MIB for a DAS licence but not met with any success as both it and the TRAI believe that distribution of television via cable TV should be kept out of the purview of government owned undertakings, which the former is.

Following the rejection of its application, the cable TV MSO had approached the Madras High Court through two writ petitions bearing nos. 7067/2013 and 7068/2013. Both had sought direction to the MIB to process its DAS licence applications dated 5 July 2012, and 23 November 2012. But both are pending before the court.

The Madras High Court had then passed a restraining order on writ petitions 34213/2013 and 40365 of 2015, disallowing the disconnection of analogue TV signals in Chennai.

TACTV says that if broadcasters heed the 31 December 2016 analogue signal switch off notification sent by the MIB to them, it would tantamount to contempt of court and could attract proceedings in that direction.

The cable TV MSO says that the “MIB had itself admitted as much in a counter affidavit dated November 18, 2013 filed before the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).”

TRAI had through a press release on 10 December 2013 termed the transmission of analogue signals in Chennai as illegal and had tried to restrain TACTV from transmitting the same.

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