TDSAT: ZEEL not to disconnect signals to Star Broadband Service

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal has directed Zee Entertainment Enterprise Ltd not to give effect to the disconnection notice sent to Star Broadband Services (I) Pvt. Ltd and continue to supply its TV signals in terms of the earlier arrangements subsisting before the issuance of the notice.

Listing the matter for 9 August, Chairman Justice Aftab Alam and member B B Srivastava felt the validity of the RIO and whether or not it is fully in compliance with the directions of the Tribunal, requires serious consideration.

It said the expression “earlier subsisting arrangement” would include not only the previous interconnect agreement in writing between the two sides (though it might have expired before the publication of the RIO) but also any carriage agreement / placement agreement / discount agreement etc., in case the latter was co-terminus with the interconnect agreement.

In the next hearing, the Tribunal may hear the parties and make ‘a proper and equitable interim arrangement till a final decision is rendered on this petition’. However, the Tribunal said “It is made clear in case of any default in payment in terms of the subsisting arrangement, it will be open to the broadcaster to proceed in accordance with law.”

A reply has been filed on behalf of Zeel. Rejoinder, if any, may be filed within two weeks, the Tribunal said.

Zeel counsel Tejveer Singh Bhatia had with him in a sealed cover the list of MSOs with whom his client entered into interconnect agreements during the period between the Tribunal’s decision of 7 December ( Noida Software Technology Park Ltd. Vs. M/s ZE Zeel. & Others) and the publication of its RIO on 11 May this year.

Zeel counsel Meet Malhotra, learned senior counsel appearing for Zee Entertainment submitted that the RIO had been framed and issued directly in pursuance of the Tribunal’s decision and it was being offered on a uniform basis and therefore, there is no reason for the petitioner or for anyone else, not to accept it.

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