One Alliance channels off Asianet; Tdsat hearing on 6 July

MUMBAI: SET Discovery and Asianet Satellite Communications, the leading multi-system operator (MSO) in Kerala, are at loggerheads even as the case comes up for further hearing at the Telecom Disputes Settlement And Appellate Tribunal (Tdsat) on Friday.

The company, which operates under the One Alliance brand, has made a series of allegations including the illegal telecast of Copa America football matches on the Asianet network through Dubai Sports.

"Dubai Sports is not registered by the central government. Asianet can‘t carry Dubai Sports on its network in terms of the Cable Network Regulation Act and the Downlinking guidelines," clarifies SET Discovery president Anuj Gandhi.

At the centre of the dispute is the amount Asianet is ready to pay for the bouquet of channels that One Alliance distributes. SET Discovery says Asianet has "taken the obstinate and unacceptable stand that it would only pay an amount which translates effectively into around 25 per cent of the monthly subscription charges that is being paid."

One Alliance has deactivated the signals of its channels to Asianet since 21 June due to non payment of dues. It claims the MSO has paid "a paltry ad-hoc amount of Rs four million" as against a "whopping outstanding of approximately Rs 2,49,00,000." One Alliance issued public notices in newspapers on 16 May in line with the Trai (the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) regulations, intimating the public that the signals of the One Alliance channels including Ten Sports "is likely to be deactivated to Asianet for non payment of dues."

Sony and Max channels also ran a scroll message to inform the viewers about the possibility of a deactivation. SET Discovery accuses Asianet of unilaterally blacking out the signals of Sony and Max channels with effect from 1 June as a retaliatory measure.

When contacted, Asianet Satellite Communications CEO Mahesh Kumar declined to comment. "The matter is sub judice. The case comes up for hearing on Friday," he said.

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