TDSAT directs Sony, Seven Star to sign RIO deal for Mumbai effective 1 Dec

MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has directed Sony Pictures Networks India Distribution (SPNID) and multi system operator (MSO) Seven Star to sign a deal based on reference interconnect offer (RIO) for Mumbai with effect from 1 December.

The tribunal further stated that the RIO based agreement will be for the original area as the earlier agreement. In order to sign a deal for other areas, the MSO will have to satisfy that its system and then try to negotiate terms and conditions.

The audit of the MSO’s system will commence from 4 December. The audit will have to be concluded within ten days. The outcome of the audit should be made known to the Tribunal.

The present petition was filed by the MSO to seek a direction upon the broadcaster to enter into an agreement with the petitioner on RIO terms for the entire territory of Mumbai including but not limited to Vashi, Navi Mumbai, Dombivali and Kalyan.

The tribunal noted that the dispute between the parties is not only on account of arrears but also on account of allegations that the MSO has expanded its business into areas not covered by the earlier agreement.

The tribunal further stated that it usually grants opportunity to parties like the MSO to avail limited time period for finalising a fresh agreement.

In this case, the MSO has already opted for RIO based agreement. The MSO also claimed that it has signed the copy of such agreement and delivered to Sony but the latter is not reciprocating.

“Without going into the details of the petitioner’s request for RIO agreement at this stage when the respondents are yet to file their reply, we direct the parties, as an interim measure, to enter into RIO based agreement for the original area which was the subject matter of the earlier agreement. This should be made effective from 1.12.2017,” the tribunal said in the order.

“For other areas, the petitioner must satisfy the respondents that its system is ready and they should first try to negotiate the terms and conditions. If required, further interim orders may be passed on the next date,” it added.

Meanwhile, the interim protection against the disconnection of signals to the MSO will continue till the next date, which is 15 December.

It also made it clear that the MSO has undertaken not to transmit signals outside the area of the agreement until a fresh agreement for larger areas is executed between the parties.

The dispute between the parties is over accounts. Furthermore, the agreement between the two came to an end on 31 October.

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