TDSAT directs BECIL to re-audit Digicable's headend

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has asked the Broadcast Engineering Consultants (India) Ltd (BECIL) to make a further audit of Digicable Network India’s system on whether there is a foolproof and tamper proof mechanism to truly and faithfully record the number of subscribers receiving the signals at Ahmedabad in case the feed of signals is taken from the Delhi headend to that city.

The Tribunal, which had earlier asked BECIL to conduct an audit of Digicable Network and received its report, gave this direction on a petition by Digicable seeking transmission of digital addressable system signals of IndiaCast Distribution to Ahmedabad.

Listing the matter for 29 January, TDSAT chairman Aftab Alam and members Kuldip Singh and B B Srivastava asked BECIL to submit the report within 10 days from the date of receipt of a copy of the order.

The Tribunal was not satisfied with the contentions of Digicable counsel Diggaj Pathak, who had relied upon the paragraph in the earlier BECIL petition making note of the unique package ID, which he said would sufficiently record the number of subscribers in Ahmedabad even though the feed may be taken from the Delhi headend.

BECIL may also indicate the position in regard to the Gospel CAS, which finds mention in its earlier report, the Tribunal said.

Pathak submitted that in case IndiaCast was not willing to execute an agreement on negotiated terms, it must still provide the signals of its channels to Digicable on its RIO terms in as much as the latter had expressed its willingness to execute the agreement based on the respondent’s RIO.

IndiaCast objected to giving its signals to Digicable for retransmission in Gujarat on a number of grounds, one of which relate to the alleged lacuna in Digicable’s technical system.

The Tribunal decided to presently leave aside other objections raised by IndiaCast (including non-payment of its dues) and only deal with the issue of the technical lacuna in the petitioner’s system. 

The Tribunal noted that the earlier audit by BECIL was on a petition by Digicable last year against a notice of disconnection issued by IndiaCast, and the Tribunal had asked BECIL to examine Digicable headend. The report was given on 21 August. Even as the BECIL’s report was received before the Tribunal, it had been represented that the parties had resolved their disputes bilaterally and the petition filed by the Digicable was withdrawn.

Digicable executed an interconnect agreement with IndiaCast on its behalf and on behalf of a number of its JV companies for retransmission of IndiaCast signals in different DAS areas in the country. The licence fee under this agreement is payable on CPS basis and does not cover Gujarat. 

Pathak submitted that Digicable will take the feed of the signals from its headend located in Delhi to Ahmedabad for retransmission there. 

IndiaCast counsel Kunal Tandon said the earlier report had shown that there is no proper bifurcation of subscribers or set-top-boxes (STBs) on the basis of locations of the petitioner’s CAS in Delhi. 

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