Regulators

TDSAT questions MIB over DAS licence denial to Tamil Nadu's Arasu Cable

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NEW DELHI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Arbitration Tribunal (TDSAT), on 14 August, asked the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) to file an affidavit in a matter where the root issue is about the denial of digital addressable system (DAS) licence to Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation (TACTV).

While the MIB had presented a note through a section officer, TDSAT refused to accept it and wanted the ministry to file a proper affidavit.

Listing the matter for 2 September, TDSAT also said that Star India, respondent in the case filed by cable operator Thamizhaga Cable TV Communication, New Delhi, was free to negotiate with Arasu and other multi-system operators (MSOs) for areas in Chennai for DAS and outside Chennai for analogue transmission.

At the same time, it said that there would be no disconnection of signals until the next date.

TDSAT also directed that the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) should be impleaded as a party since other broadcasters were also giving signals to Arasu for Chennai though it did not have the DAS licence. Option was also given to other broadcasters if they wanted to be impleaded.

During the hearing earlier this week, TDSAT chairman Aftab Alam and members Kuldip SIngh and B B Srivastava wondered why the Central Government had failed to take a decision on giving DAS licence to Arasu. It had therefore directed that the Ministry be impleaded in the case.

At the same time, it had held that Arasu (TACTV) was guilty of transmitting television signals in Chennai, which had adopted DAS in the first phase - in analogue mode, and at the same time guilty of using Star signals in the metropolis without any authorisation inter-connect agreement with Star India.

The Tribunal was told by TACTV that it had applied for a DAS licence as far back as July 2012 but the government had failed to take a decision despite an order of the Madras High Court in December 2013 asking the Centre to take a decision on the application of TACTV for grant of it’s license “in the soonest possible time.”  

Noting that there is no compliance with the direction of the Court even after more than a year and half, the Tribunal felt it was imperative to know the stand of the Government for a proper adjudication of the matter.

The Tribunal did not accept the argument by TACTV in the last hearing that it had negotiated with Star India for the entire state since the Letter of Intent (LOI) was only for the rest of Tamil Nadu barring Chennai.

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