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Trai orders Sony to restore signal to Allahabad cable op

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MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has directed Sony-Discovery to immediately restore signals of its bouquet of channels to Allahabad-based Three Star Communication which runs cable TV operations.

SET Discovery had discontinued signals on the ground that Three Star Communication was a chronic defaulter and had outstandings of Rs 1.40 lakh since August 2004. Trai has said Sony can switch off signals only after issuing a one-month notice.

But the broadcast and cable regulator has pointed out that SET Discovery, as per the Interconnection Regulation, should have given one month notice before disconnection of signal. Only in cases of piracy can a broadcaster switch off signals with a two-day notice. And in this case, the main cause for disconnection is non-liquidation of outstanding payment.

"The proviso under clause 4.1 providing for two working days notice in the case of piracy cannot be extended to the ground of non liquidation of outstanding payments. Therefore, it was necessary for SET Discovery to have given one month's notice to Three Star Communication before resorting to disconnection," Trai said.

SET Discovery, the regulator said, has also not indicated its position in two local newspapers or in two national dailies or through a scroll in the channel as provided for in clause 4.2 of the Interconnection Regulation. Trai's regulation had come into force with effect from 10 December 2004.

So what course of action Sony will take? "We are consulting our legal counsel. We will talk a decision accordingly," says SET Discovery president Shantonu Aditya.

 

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