Cable TV

Upload channel capacity & RIO immediately, AIDCF urges MSOs

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NEW DELHI: With the Madras High Court declining to stay the tariff order for television, the All-India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF) which represents multi-system operators has said that this “will help in creating a level playing field for all the stakeholders, especially the end consumers who will now have complete freedom at their disposal”.

In a press release on the three regulations issued on 3 March 2017 which will come into effect on 2 May 2017, AIDCF sad: “It will also help in bringing more transparency and fuel growth by regulating the entire broadcasting eco-system.”

Star India and Vijay TV had challenged the orders of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on the ground that it had no jurisdiction over content which actually came under Copyright Act, which is not administered by TRAI. Resultantly, the Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy which administers intellectual property rights had been made the first respondent. AIDCF had intervened in the case to oppose any stay order.

The Federation, which had advised its member-MSOs to upload their RIO, channel carrying capacity and interconnect agreement on their websites as soon as possible. AIDCF also urges all the broadcasters to upload their RIO by 2 May 2017 on their websites.

AIDCF president T S Panesar expressed the hope that “the new tariff order and the interconnect regulations will put things in the right perspective. This new tariff order will give the end consumer, the power to choose what they want to watch and ensure content is made available to all distribution platforms without any discrimination, thus balancing the entire eco-system.”

Chief justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar directed the main petition by Star India and Vijay TV to be heard on 12 June. However, the court said that Section 3 of the Tariff order and all other consequences of such implementation/enforcement would be subject to the outcome of the main petition.

The Court said in its order of 27 April that “the situation prevailing on 3 March 2017 when the order was issued and that prevailing today ‘has not changed so drastically’ as to warrant an interim stay. The Court said that it had also kept in view the larger public plea made by the Government counsel.

Earlier, on 28 March, both the broadcasters had not pressed their plea for stay of the order after TRAI told the court that implementation of these orders had been postponed from 2 April to 2 May. TRAI had issued the tariff order, Quality of Service, and Reference Interconnect Agreement orders after getting clearance on 3 March from the Supreme Court.

Hearing on the petition has had a chequered history with three judges recusing themselves. Though it was not clear, it appeared that the judges Justice S Nagamuthu, Justice Anita Sumanth and later Justice Govind Rajan had received letters which prompted them to withdraw from the case.

The fresh petitions became necessary as the matter is being heard afresh by the bench headed by the Chief Justice .

Apart from the Tariff order which had originally been issued on 10 October last year, the regulator also issued the DAS Interconnect Regulations which had been issued on 14 October last year, and the Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection (Digital Addressable Systems) Regulations which had been issued on 10 October last year.

The orders can be seen at:

http://trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Tariff_Order_English_3%20March_20...

http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/QOS_Regulation_03_03_2017.pdf

http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Interconnection_Regulation_03...

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