Television

ESPN moves TDSAT against Pune cable op ICC for recovery of dues

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MUMBAI: ESPN Software India has approached the Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) for recovery of dues from Pune's biggest cable operator Intermedia Cable Communication.

ESPN, in its petition to TDSAT, claims that the amount pending from the ICC for the signal provided between December 2004 and June 2005 is approximately Rs 7.7 million plus 12 per cent interest.

However, ICC in its response filed today before TDSAT, claims to have orally communicated to the broadcaster that ESPN was free to discontinue its signals, and has argued that it is therefore not liable to pay any amount.

ESPN has filed the case at TDSAT ahead of Fifa World Cup 2006, which will kick off from 9 June.ESPN had entered into an agreement with ICC to distribute signals for the period December 2003 up to December 2004. Following the expiry of the agreement, the two did not sign any fresh deal and ICC continued to distribute the ESPN signals till June 2005.

ICC, in its reply today, states that it had orally communicated to ESPN not to distribute the signals anymore. And thus ICC is not liable to pay any amount for the period December 2004 to June 2005.

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, an ICC spokesperson said, "The case will be heard at Tdsat soon and thus it will be known if there is any amount due."

But, according to ESPN officials, "We have filed for recovery of money for services render."

It is worth noting here that in December 2004, broadcast regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had allowed for a 7 per cent increase (basic tariff excluding taxes) in cable rates. The change in tariff was effective from 1 January, 2005.

According to sources close to the developments, ESPN has to prove before TDSAT that the signals distributed to ICC have been passed to consumers and that the latter has collected money for the same. The ICC has declared a subscriber base of approximately 39,750 in Pune.

TDSAT will be hearing the matter on 9 May --- Petition No. 91(C) of 2006 ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd vs Intermedia Cable Communication Pvt Ltd.

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