Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) on 25th has directed the broadcasters not to ask a direct-to-home (DTH) service provider for a minimum subscription period of three months, the tribunal has also requested the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to relook at such Reference Interconnect Offers (RIOs).
In a significant judgement, the TDSAT has directed ESPN Software India (now Star Sports India) to modify two clauses in its Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO) agreement with DTH operator Dish TV and to enter into a fresh agreement based on the modified RIO within a period of two weeks.
The tribunal has pointed out that a broadcaster cannot ask a DTH service provider to prescribe a minimum subscription period of three months. A DTH operator, however, may prescribe a maximum of three months as the minimum period of subscription to its subscribers subscribing to a la carte channels.
The TDSAT has, thus, directed ESPN Software to modify clause 5.6. The tribunal has also asked the sportscaster to modify clause 8.2 to make the reporting requirement in conformity with the RIO published by Dish TV on its website.
Dish TV had moved TDSAT to direct ESPN Software to make the necessary amendments in its RIO including clause 5.6 and 8.2 in order to bring it in compliance with the applicable Interconnect Regulations and the Tariff Order.
While clause 5.6 of the RIO provided that the DTH operator will have to sell the services to its subscribers for a minimum period of three months, clause 8.2 specifies reporting requirements with regard to its subscribers as per which some confidential details are asked in the guise of determining the subscriber base.