TDSAT asks Star to fix Rs 27/subscriber

Our Bureau

New Delhi, July 14

The Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) today ordered Star India to provide its channels to ASC Enterprises' Direct-to-Home platform Dish TV within the next 15 days.

In another relief to Dish TV, the telecom tribunal has also asked Star TV to make available all its channels for not more than Rs 27 per subscriber. Star had earlier demanded Rs 67 per subscriber for some of its channels. It had also demanded that Dish TV should give a commitment of minimum of 50,000 subscribers if it wanted to share the channels.

Rejecting the demand from Star TV, TDSAT said, "The quantum of minimum guarantee sought from the petitioner (ASC Enterprises) by the respondent (Star India) is much higher than the minimum guarantee sought from Tata Sky (DTH joint venture between Star and Tata). We feel that this term being imposed by the respondent is not justified and neither in accordance with regulation and amounts to denial of request of the petitioner for supply of signals. We, therefore, direct that signals be given to petitioner who will pay on the exact number of consumers, list of which will be submitted from the subscriber management system to the respondent every month."

Rate per channel

The telecom tribunal, however, declined to lay down the rate per channel, saying it was the prerogative of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. "In the interest of consumers, balance of convenience and equitable business opportunity, all the channels of all broadcasters must be available on all DTH platforms. We feel that rate for these channels will have to be laid down by the regulator," it said.

ASC Enterprises had filed an appeal with TDSAT after Star TV refused access to its bouquet of channels. In its appeal, ASC had said that Star TV was offering better rates to its own DTH company TataSky.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 15, 2006)
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