Dish TV, IndiaCast continue to battle it out

MUMBAI: The fight between India’s oldest DTH player Dish TV and newbie aggregator IndiaCast seems to be becoming uglier. Both the parties are fighting it out ferociously, however, on the same playground – the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).

It was just last week that the TDSAT dismissed Dish TV’s petition against IndiaCast asking them to come to an agreement that would allow the aggregator to give channels on Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO) basis. However, IndiaCast didn’t seem to be happy with the verdict and thus with the help of newspaper ads informed people about Dish’s ‘on request channels’ scheme.

The issue took an ugly turn, when Dish reacted to it with a legal notice.

Now, IndiaCast has gone a step ahead and has filed a petition with the TDSAT seeking clarification on the terms of the RIO, specifically on the ‘on request channel’ scheme and the scrolls running on the channels from Dish TV.

The IndiaCast contention is that as per RIO agreements, channels can only be given in either as a-la-carte or in the packages. The concept of requesting channels is new and not prescribed as per terms of RIO.

“Dish TV isn’t telling people exactly what this scheme is. Also, how can the number of SMSs that it receives from 'so-called unsubscribing' customers be monitored and verified?” asks a source close to IndiaCast. The fear is that the operator might tweak the feedback from customers and say subscribers don't want IndiaCast channels, and hence charge carriage fees from it. 

Dish TV, on its part, isn’t taking things too lightly. While earlier it issued a legal notice to the aggregator for spreading ‘false and malafide information’ through its advertisements on TV and in newspapers, now it has threatened severe action. Now it has also moved to the TDSAT against IndiaCast for the same.

Both the cases will be heard on Thursday.

According to the ‘on request channels’ scheme, viewers will have to individually message each channel that they want to watch to Dish TV. The subscriber also can earn rewards in the form of 100 points worth Rs 100 which can be redeemed to watch ‘movies on demand’ that the DTH operator offers. 

As the fight between the two gets fierce, it’s to be seen who bows down? Or, will the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) have to step in to resolve the issue?

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