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TRAI asks E24, Silverstar Comm against providing signals without interconnect agreements

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked E 24 Glamour and Silverstar Communications against providing signals to any distribution platform without an interconnection agreement and to disconnect supply of signals in cases where there is no such written agreement.

TRAI has asked both the broadcasters to discontinue signals of its pay channels to platforms after giving a disconnection notice in case they fail to enter into an agreement with the platform 45 days from the issue of this direction.

Besides reducing the terms and conditions of its agreement into writing, TRAI has asked the two broadcasters to report information related to agreements to the authority in 45 days.

According to TRAI, once a channel goes pay it has to mandatorily enter into agreements with distribution platforms irrespective of whether or not it is charging the platform any money.

Responding to the showcause notices, the two broadcasters said that although their channels are pay, they are not charging any subscription fee. E 24 said that it would start reporting interconnection agreements once it starts charging subscription fee, while Silverstar asked the authority to ignore the rate card since it is not collecting any money. The latter also said that it did not have any carriage fee deals with distribution platforms.

E24 Glamour had declared its channel E24 as pay in 2010 while Silverstar had converted its three free-to-air (FTA) channels Mega TV, Mega Musiq and Mega 24 into pay channels in 2015.

As per interconnection regulations, all pay channel broadcasters are required to report their agreements to TRAI on or before 31 July. This includes the carriage fee paid by the broadcaster to the multi-system operator (MSO).

TRAI said that the two broadcasters had not furnished the information for the period 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014.

TRAI had directed the two broadcasters to furnish required information. However, both failed to furnish details of interconnection agreements, prompting TRAI to issue the showcause notices.