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DishTV to approach TRAI on Star Sports 2

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MUMBAI: For quite some time India's largest DTH platform Dish TV has wanted to carry Star’s new sports channel launched earlier this year, Star Sports 2 as part of its service. But this has not happened. 



Dish TV says it has not signed the RIO as it has several terms it objected to. It moved the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) for grievance redressal. 



The interim order on the case came out late today stating that the question of validity of the terms of an RIO need to be first examined by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) under clause 13.3 of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnect Regulations (2004).



One of the terms that Dish TV has been disputing is regarding ‘Remote access (e.g. through dial up or otherwise) to the Affiliate’s DTH platform (information related to subscribers) shall be provided to the Company in order to permit the Company to verify the subscriber numbers.’



As per this term, Star Sports wanted access to its subscribers’ details on Dish TV. To this, the tribunal stated that this term is contrary to a previous opinion of TRAI that was upheld by the TDSAT.



After hearing this, the Star Sports counsel said that his client won’t insist on incorporating this term in its RIO but the TDSAT said in a similar situation had arose before and therefore this clause may not have found mention in the RIO.



“In so far as the other disputed terms and conditions are concerned, it will be open to the petitioner to sign the interconnect agreement, including the disputed terms and conditions without prejudice to its rights and contentions and keeping its option open to seek its remedies,” reads the TDSAT order. 



Dish now has two options before it - either sign the RIO, comply with the terms and take the channel or else not take the channel. Star Sports says that if it wants to take it to the TRAI, it has to sign the RIO including the above mentioned one. The TDSAT has requested the regulator to have its say on it within six weeks from the date of filing.



According to Dish TV, there are about 10 to 12 such terms that they object to and will be writing to the TRAI about in the first half of next week. “We do expect the TRAI will issue a direction to the broadcaster to amend clauses in the RIO. If Star Sports still does not adhere to the TRAI's directions we will certainly revert to the tribunal to point out the recalcitrance again,” says Dish TV CEO R C Venkateish.



Star Sports officials, on the other hand, are also quite clear that Dish TV will have to sign the RIO if it wants the channel. "Despite the fact that the disputed terms in the RIO, this stand of the broadcaster that I have to sign the RIO before approaching the TRAI is indicative of their attitude towards the law of the land," said Venkateish.



It is up to the regulator now to decide whether the terms in the RIO fit with the regulations.

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