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MSO Fastway Transmission and ZEEL fight over RIO

MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has directed multi-system operator (MSO) Fastway Transmission and broadcaster Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) to execute interconnection agreement based on the latter’s RIO terms.

The RIO-based agreement, as and when executed between the parties, needs to date back to 19 May, the date from which the broadcaster is operating on that basis.

Before the signing of the agreement, the MSO has to pay Rs 3 crore (Rs 30 million) to ZEEL.

The tribunal made it clear that the payment of Rs 3 crore (Rs 30 million) as well as the direction for execution of the RIO-based agreement is without prejudice to the rights and contentions of the parties and would go by the final result of the petition.

The matter has been put up under the same head on 16 August.

The MSO had filed the petition against a general notice by ZEEL asking all the MSOs who, on the date of issuance (11 May) of the fresh RIO, did not have an existing interconnection agreement with it to execute an agreement based on the RIO.

Even as the MSO has challenged the RIO issued by ZEEL, it is willing to execute an RIO-based agreement until the tribunal gives its decision on the validity and legality of the RIO coming under challenge in this petition and several other petitions on that issue.

ZEEL, however, contended that the MSO must clear dues before entering into the RIO-based agreement. The broadcaster said that the MSO owed it Rs 5.40 crore (Rs 54 million).

Fastway, however, stated that the dues would come down to Rs 1.66 crore (Rs 16.6 million) if properly worked out.

Earlier, the tribunal had directed ZEEL not to disconnect signals to IndusInd Media & Communications Ltd (IMCL), Star Broadband Services, Intermedia Cable Communications (ICC), Home Network and JPR Channel, among other MSOs.

It also instructed ZEEL to continue to supply its signals to the MSOs in terms of the earlier arrangements existing before the issuance of the disconnection notice.

The MSOs had challenged the fresh RIO issued by the broadcaster contending that it was discriminatory and not in conformity with the tribunal’s judgment.

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