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Bombay HC directs TRAI to sort interconnect issue between MSOs and LCOs

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court today directed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to organise a meeting between multi-system operators (MSOs) and local cable operators (LCOs) within two weeks to finalise the draft interconnect agreement.

If the issue is not settled within six weeks from the date of order, then the HC will proceed further in the matter. The next date of hearing in the matter is 13 October.

“The Bombay High Court has directed TRAI to set up a meeting between MSOs and LCOs within two weeks and come up with a model standard draft interconnect agreement, and within six weeks we have to report it back to the court whether we have come up to a solution. In case we don’t come up with a solution, the court will intervene,” MCOF president Arvind Prabhoo told TelevisionPost.com

The Maharashtra Cable Operators Federation (MCOF) and Nasik Cable Operators Association (NCOA) had filed separate petitions in the Bombay HC challenging the digital addressable system (DAS) regulations issued by TRAI. The interconnect agreements of the MSOs were also challenged by them.

The cable operators contend that the interconnect agreements provided by the MSOs are one-sided.

A TRAI official said that the sector regulator would look into the HC order. He, however, pointed out that a standard interconnect agreement prescribed by TRAI could not be the best option.

“To date, the industry has been doing deals based on mutual negotiations and that is how it should be done going forward. However, we will look into the Bombay High Court order,” said the TRAI official.