The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has issued notice to TRAI on a petition filed by ESPN, which is contesting the regulator’s directive to it to provide channels to DTH operators at a rate 50 per cent below cable rates. TDSAT has directed TRAI to file their reply within four weeks.
Filing a petition before TDSAT, ESPN had submitted that TRAI’s passing directions to it to modify its reference interconnect offer (RIO) providing channels to direct-to-home operators was without any authority.
ESPN further submitted before the TDSAT bench headed by Justice Arun Kumar that TRAI had failed to bring a price regulation mechanism for the DTH sector and was just riding piggy back on a two-year old Tribunal’s order directing broadcasters to give their channels to DTH operators at 50 per cent of cable charges.
This was opposed by TRAI counsels, who submitted that ESPN was not following the rules and regulations laid by this Tribunal. “There are 17 broadcasters in the country having 124 pay channels, and out of that, 16 broadcasters with 121 pay channels are following the rules and regulation. Only one broadcaster with three channels is resisting it,” submitted the TRAI’s counsel.
TDSAT allows Tata Sky to beam ESPN’s channels on a la carte basis