TDSAT directs Sony, four MSOs to sign either RIO or negotiated deal within 30 days

MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has directed four multi system operators (MSOs) to sign either a reference interconnect offer (RIO) or negotiated agreement with broadcaster Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) within 30 days.

The tribunal also stated that the supply of signals can only be continued on the basis of RIO basis should the party fail to arrive at a negotiated agreement.

“An agreement on the basis of negotiated terms or RIO based terms should be entered within 30 days from today, failing which supply of signals to the petitioner can be continued only on RIO term basis,” the TDSAT said in its order.

Since the petitioners have challenged the RIO terms of the broadcaster, such agreement shall be subject to the final result of the petition, the tribunal added.

The tribunal has granted 30 days time to Fastway Transmission, Shimla Satellite Cable, Hathway Sukhamrit Cable & Datacom, and Satellite Channels to meet the representative of Sony within one week to take the process forward.

The four MSOs had moved TDSAT against Sony’s disconnection notice due to the expiry of the agreement. While admitting the petitions, the tribunal noted that such petitions have become very usual.

The interconnect agreement between Sony and the MSOs expired on 31 March. Parties tried to negotiate for a fresh agreement but have been unsuccessful so far.

The tribunal observed that parties should try to arrive at an agreement either on negotiated terms or on RIO based terms. The usual period granted for this purpose is 30 days from the date of the order.

In special circumstances, the tribunal said it has granted lesser time but it finds no good ground to treat it as a special case.

Reply, if any, may be filed within four weeks. Rejoinder, if any, may be filed within two weeks thereafter. The matter has been posted under the head “For Directions” on 13 August.

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