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TDSAT allows Manthan to put Taj TV channels on RIO from expiry of notice

MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has allowed multi-system operator (MSO) Manthan Broadband Services to put Taj Television channels on a la carte effective 15 days from the expiry of its public notice.

Manthan had filed a miscellaneous application seeking permission to retransmit the channels received from the TV channel distributor on reference interconnect offer (RIO) rather than in any bouquets.

The MSO wanted to put the distributor’s channel on a la carte from the midnight of 30 November so that the billing of licence fee commencing from 1 December should take place on a la carte basis at RIO rates.

However, the tribunal overruled Manthan’s request, contending that MSO has issued the public notice on 28 November and hence it can switch over to a la carte mode only on the expiry of the 15-day notice period.

The application was accordingly disposed of.

The tribunal also directed Manthan to pay the licence fee on cost-per-subscriber (CPS) basis as stipulated in the agreement that came to end on 31 July as it was carrying the distributor’s channels as part of its bouquets.

It would be liable to make payment on a la carte basis at RIO rates from the date the mode of retransmission is switched over to a la carte, the tribunal said in its order.

Taj alleged that the MSO’s system is not properly integrated as prescribed under Schedule I of the regulations as the figures of subscribers reflected in the subscriber management system (SMS) and conditional access system (CAS) are not the same and that the CAS shows a higher figure.

The tribunal directed Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd (BECIL) to conduct an audit of the MSO’s system. At the time of audit, it will be open to Taj to have its representative present there.

It has requested BECIL to submit the audit report within one month from the date of communication of this order. The cost of the audit will be borne by Manthan.