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TDSAT asks BECIL to probe Digicable’s system as IndiaCast denies signals for Gujarat

MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has directed the Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd (BECIL) to audit Digicable Network India’s system after IndiaCast Media Distribution denied providing signals to the MSO in digital addressable system (DAS) areas of Gujarat due to lacuna in its technical system.

The tribunal has directed BECIL to give a report on the point as to if the feed of signals is taken from the Delhi headend to Ahmedabad whether there is a foolproof and tamper-proof mechanism to truly and faithfully record the number of subscribers receiving the signals at Ahmedabad.

It also directed BECIL to indicate the position with regard to the Gospel conditional access system (CAS), which finds mention in its earlier report. BECIL will have to submit the report on the aforesaid queries within 10 days from the date of receipt of a copy of this order. The cost of the audit will be borne by Digicable. The matter has been put up under the same head for 29 January.

Digicable Network India had filed the petition seeking the signals of IndiaCast’s channels for retransmission in the DAS areas of Gujarat.

Digicable’s Diggaj Pathak submitted that in case IndiaCast was not willing to execute the agreement on negotiated terms, it must still provide the signals on its RIO terms inasmuch as the MSO had expressed its willingness to execute the agreement based on the respondent’s RIO.

IndiaCast objected to giving its signals to the MSO for retransmission in Gujarat on a number of grounds, one of which related to the alleged lacuna in the latter’s technical system.

The tribunal noted that the MSO had earlier come to the tribunal against a notice of disconnection issued by the respondent. By an order passed on that petition, the MSO’s headend was examined by BECIL, which submitted its report on 21 August 2015.

Even as BECIL’s report was received before the tribunal, it was represented that the parties had resolved their disputes bilaterally and the petition filed by the MSO was withdrawn.

Digicable executed an interconnection agreement with IndiaCast on its behalf and on behalf of a number of its JV companies for retransmission of the latter’s signals in different DAS areas in the country excluding Gujarat. The licence fee under this agreement is payable on CPS basis.

Pathak submitted that the MSO would take the feed of the signals from its headend located in Delhi to Ahmedabad for retransmission there. As the MSO seeks the interconnection agreement for Gujarat on RIO terms, it is cardinal that its headend at Delhi should have a foolproof arrangement for truly reflecting the number of its subscribers in Ahmedabad and this constitutes the real bone of contention.

IndiaCast counsel Kunal Tandon pointed out passages from BECIL’s August 2015 report, which records the finding that there is no proper bifurcation of subscribers/STBs on the basis of locations of the petitioner’s CAS in Delhi.

Pathak relied upon the passage in the above-quoted paragraphs where the report takes note of the unique package ID, which according to Pathak would sufficiently record the number of subscribers in Ahmedabad even though the feed may be taken from the Delhi headend.

Unsatisfied with Pathak’s explanation, the tribunal said that before proceeding further in the matter, it would like BECIL to make a further audit of the MSO’s system.