“Manjul Bajpai, a well known senior advocate of the Telecom and Broadcasting Industry and President of the Telecom lawyers Association (TLA) provides many useful hints for the companies involved in providing services in the Cable and Broadcasting sector, in question and answer form. These questions are based upon his vast experience of handling litigations in the industry and feed back he received during the TDSAT seminars held in different parts of the country regarding disputes settlement”
Yes. You can. Under ‘Must Provide Clause’–every Broadcaster has to provide its TV signal to MSOs and every MSO has to provide its TV channels to Cable Operators, on non discriminatory terms. Under ‘Must Provide Clause’- every Broadcaster has to provide its TV Channel to Cable Operators, on nondiscriminatory terms.
If you are a new signal seeker , then you have to apply to MSO/Broadcaster and provide the detail like :
• Your Registration Certification with the post office under the cable Act ;
• The Service Area within which you intend to provide services ,expected subscribe numbers etc.
If you are an existing operator, in addition, specific detail like subscribers base of similarly placed cable operators and local survey are also to be provide.
Within 60 days the MSO/Broadcaster has to provide signals on mutually agreed terms or refuse, with reason, and in that case, you can approach TDSAT.
Yes. You can. Before Disconnection the MSO/ Broadcaster has to follow the rules like:
• give a pubic notice in news papers; and
• give a specific notice to you.
Notices have to be of 21 days–counted from the date of the letter notice. Similarly, if a Cable Operator wants to stop re-distributing channels of MSO to its subscribers, he is also obliged to follow the same rules.
But you must remember that if you have defaulted in your payment, then you can't take the benefit of the ‘Must Provide clause’
Yes. But only if you are not pirating.
• You have to operate only in service area mentioned in your agreement.
• If you wish to operate beyond that area , then you may be holding postal registration for a larger area/new area.
• Subscription fee has been agreed/fixed on the basis of agreed service area also.
• So if you wish to serve in larger area, then the subscription fee has to be renegotiated.
In this context, the Supreme Court has opined that:
If the MSO –Agent is a Commercial Agent only for collection of subscription fee, data etc, the agency is valid under the regulation;
If the MSO-Agent of the Broadcaster itself is the service provider and that the feed is given to the signal seeker through the network of that MSO- agent, the same is violative of regulation.
In other words, as long as the feed comes directly from the decoders, even though decoders are provided through the MSO- Agent, it is valid in Law.
Appeal from TDSAT's final orders lie directly to Supreme Court, but only on substantial questions of law.
• And therefore since in most cases, particularly in Cable and Broadcasting sector, the issues involved are factual in nature so, practically speaking, TDSAT may be your first and the last court.
• No appeal can be filled against interim orders of TDSAT
• My suggestion to Cable and Broadcasting industry is to accept each other's presence and role, keeping in mind recognized historical developments while recognizing the new technologies and scope for provision of services, all in the interest of consumers at large.
No right click