Cable TV

Arasu gets provisional MSO licence subject to analogue switch-off in three months

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NEW DELHI: The Tamil Nadu-Government run Arasu Cable TV Corporation (TACTV) has been granted provisional licence to operate as a multi-system operator in the state on condition that it switches off analogue signals in the entire state within three months.

Information and Broadcasting Ministry sources also told indiantelevision.com that it had been made clear that the provisional licence was subject to the Centre taking a final decision on the recommendation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India that no government owned body should be permitted in the field of running or distributing television channels.

In Tamil Nadu where there is a court stay in operation since Phase I, TACTV had warned MSOs and LCOs against switching off analogue signals anywhere in the state after 31 March 2017.

The sources said that Arasu had been granted provisional licence in 2006 at the time of the Conditional Access System on certain conditions based on the TRAI report but this had not been renewed when Digital Addressable System came into force.

Pointing out that the centre had refused to grant DAS licence to TACTV because recommendations of the TRAI, a Chennai-based MSO had told indiantelevision.com earlier this month that the case in Madras High Court had been gong on for so many years primarily because the Central Government was not clear about its stand and keeps taking adjournments.

TACTV that it had applied for a DAS licence as far back as July 2012 but the government had failed to take a decision despite an order of the Madras High Court of December 2013 asking the Centre to take a decision on the application of TACTV for grant of it’s license “in the soonest possible time”.

Earlier on 3 September 2015, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Arbitration Tribunal adjourned sine die the hearing of a matter in which it had asked the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to explain the denial of digital addressable system licence to the TACTV.

The order by then Tribunal Chairman Justice Aftab Alam and members Kuldip Singh and B B Srivastava came on being informed by the Government counsel that a single judge of the Madras High Court had on 28 August 2015 stayed the proceedings pending before the Tribunal.

The Tribunal said however gave liberty to the parties to bring to the notice of the Tribunal any further development in the matter.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry had on 14 August 2015 been asked by the Tribunal to file an affidavit in a matter where the root issue is about the denial of digital addressable system licence to the TACTV Corporation Ltd. It also directed the Indian Broadcasting Foundation to get impleaded in the case.

The Tribunal had held that Arasu was guilty of transmitting television signals in Chennai – which had adopted DAS in the first phase - in analogue mode, and at the same time guilty of using Star signals in the metropolis without any authorization inter-connect agreement with Star India.

Noting that there is no compliance with the direction of the Court even after more than a year and half, the Tribunal had at that time felt it was imperative to know the stand of the Government for a proper adjudication of the matter.

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