Technology

Hathway Nasik Cable faces disconnection, to pay Zee Turner













NEW DELHI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has directed Hathway Nasik Cable Network to pay Zee Turner its dues. Alternately, Zee Turner could disconnect the signals to the multi-system operator (MSO).


The dispute relates to an outstanding amount of Rs 1.5 million. Hathway Nasik Cable Network is a joint venture company between Hathway Cable & Datacom and a local cable outfit.


Hathway Nasik Cable Network had filed a petition stating that Zee was charging it for the local cable operators (LCOs) who had migrated to rival MSO Wire & Wireless India Ltd (WWIL), Zee‘s demerged cable company. Zee was continuing to charge Hathway Nasik Cable for those LCOs.


In its argument, Hathway also stated that Zee had been asking for the list of its affiliate local cable operators (LCOs), but every time the list is given Zee poaches on them. This damages Hathway‘s business.


The MSO told the tribunal that on 31 December 2006, it had provided a list of its affiliate LCOs of whom suddenly 18 migrated to Zee, and likewise some 22 other LCOs of Hathway had been poached by Zee.


The MSO said that this poaching has been admitted by Zee, when it offered a discount of Rs 180000 in its billing for Hathway because of migration of LCOs.


Hathway also said that its appeal was on the ground that Zee had over invoiced it, including charging it for HBO when it was not giving the film channel to Hathway.


Besides, Zee was not giving them the interconnection agreement offer, Hathway alleged.


However, Zee contended that every time they ask for the list of affiliate LCOs, Hathway refuses to give it.


"When they give the list, there is no subscriber base, and when the LCOs migrate, subscriber base goes up," Zee stated.


Zee said that the tribunal had passed an interim order on 16 November last year, which required Hathway to pay Rs 1.5 million, ad hoc, for avoiding disconnection. However, the payment came with a strange letter.


Zee senior counsel Maninder Singh showed the latter to the court, which said that this was the full and final payment from Hathway to Zee for the period September-November, as well as part payment for December 2006.


Singh said that Hathway had overturned an interim order and decided to make that a full and final payment, which incensed the court. 


When Zee wrote to Hathway about this strange behaviour of climbing over the tribunal, Hathway wrote back that they deny all such allegations, Singh said.


Rarely does the voices rise in TDSAT, but chairman Arun Kumar, visibly angry, asked Hathway: "What business did you have writing that letter?"


Hathway seemed to suggest that it was a clerical mistake but the court retorted that it had been signed by an authorised signatory and "in any case, a massive organisation like Hwthway, a man-India player, cannot say this is a mistake."


Singh also refuted Hathway‘s ‘lie‘ that the former had not served a mandatory notice before disconnection, when it showed that a notice had been served in the leading daily of Nasik.


Hathway said that the letter was a mistake and indeed, it had made further payments after the Rs 1.5 million amount. But the judges were in no mood to tolerate this outrage, and issued the order to make the payment.


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