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TDSAT asks BECIL to conduct audit of DEN’s system on Sun’s plea

MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has directed the Broadcasting Engineering Consultants India Ltd (BECIL) to conduct an audit of multi-system operator (MSO) DEN Networks’ headend to see whether it is in compliance with statutory norms, and submit its report within two weeks.

The order came after Sun Distribution System (SDS), the respondent in the matter, complained that the MSO’s subscriber management system was not in compliance following an audit by KPMG on behalf of SDS. The report of the auditing agency casts some doubts in regard to the working of the petitioner’s system.

The tribunal has asked DEN to accord full cooperation to BECIL in conduct of the audit and also bear the entire cost of the audit. The matter has been put up under the same heading on 29 August.

Providing background in which the need for audit has arisen, the tribunal noted that the petitioner failed to submit any subscribers’ reports to SDS, in regard to its various channels for the period November 2012 to July 2013.

Further, according to SDS’ counsel Abhishek Malhotra, during this period the petitioner was supplying all the respondent’s channels without any restriction to all the set-top boxes (STB) seeded by it to its subscribers, the number of which would run into several lakhs.

After July 2013, the petitioner has been submitting on a monthly basis certain figures relating to the subscribers’ base of the respondent’s different channels, but those, too, according to Malhotra, do not conform to the statutory requirements concerning the monthly SMS reports.

The tribunal has also asked BECIL to give its report on the following main points:

(i) Whether or not the CAS and the SMS systems at the petitioner’s headend are properly integrated and whether or not, it is possible to verify the SMS figures with reference to the data generated from the CAS system.

(ii) Whether it is technologically possible to find out the true subscriber base for the different channels of the respondent for the period November 2012 to July 2013, by retrieving the relevant data from the petitioner’s CAS system or by any other means.

(iii) In case it is not possible to find out the true subscriber base for the different channels of the respondent for the period November 2012 to July 2013 with reference to the data retrievable from CAS, what process BECIL might suggest for arriving at a reasonable estimate of the subscriber base for the respondent’s different channels for the period November 2012 to July 2013?

(iii) Whether or not it is possible to verify the correctness of the subscribers’ figures supplied by the petitioner to the respondent for the period August 2013 to June 2014 with reference to the data retrievable from the petitioner’s CAS system or by any other means.

(iii.i) In case those figures are not verifiable with reference to the data retrievable from the petitioner’s CAS system, what should be the approach for verifying their correctness?