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IndiaCast, Ortel row in TDSAT

MUMBAI: MSO Ortel Communications will have to clear part of its dues in order to receive the supply of signals of the television channels distributed by IndiaCast Media, the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has said.

In its order, TDSAT said that after the signals were restored, the subscription fee shall be raised on IndiaCast’s RIO (reference interconnection offer) rates and terms, which is likely to be published on 1 May. This will be subject to the final order.

Ortel had filed a petition in the TDSAT for restoration of supply of signals and for renewing the interconnection agreement on IndiaCast’s RIO terms.

Ortel had moved the tribunal against IndiaCast’s disconnection notice. The TV distribution company had issued the notice due to default of subscription fee amounting to Rs. 1.96 crore (Rs 19.6 million) up to 31 March, which also marked the expiry of the interconnection agreement between the two sides.

The distributor followed up on the notice by discontinuing the supply of signals to the MSO on 28 March.

After hearing Ortel counsel Navin Chawla and IndiaCast counsel Ramji Srinivasan, the tribunal decided to come up with an interim measure to meet the ends of justice in this case.

TDSAT said that IndiaCast should restore signals on payment of Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million) by Ortel.

Following the supply of signals, the parties shall make a reconciliation of accounts. Based on this, the amount due shall be paid by Ortel within two weeks from the date of the first payment.

Srinivasan intervened by stating that there are evidences to show that even after disconnection of signals on 28 March, the MSO continued to disseminate the signals and is therefore liable to pay the subscription fee for the interregnum between the dates of disconnection and restoration of supply of signals as well.

His claim was rebuffed by Ortel counsel.

The tribunal asked IndiaCast to raise this issue in course of reconciliation of accounts. In case there is no agreement between the two sides, the parties will abide by the final order.

On the restoration of supply of signals, it will be open to IndiaCast to hold an audit of all the headends of Ortel.

In case Ortel fails to make payments in terms of this order or doesn’t co-operate in course of audit, it will be open to IndiaCast to discontinue the supply of signals to the MSO.

The matter has been put up under the same head on 30 May.