I&B set to cancel licences of 2 MSOs over digitisation
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The ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B) is all set to take stern action against two leading multi service operators (MSOs) — InCable and DigiCable — for failing to sign the interconnect agreements with broadcasters over mandatory digitisation beginning November 1 across the four metros. As reported by FE, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had given a deadline till August 21 to all MSOs to wind up these commercial agreements and report the status to Trai.
However, only WWIL (promoted by Zee), DEN and Hathway have signed agreements with major broadcasters within the deadline. Both DigiCable and InCable (promoted by Hinduja Group), however, have not managed to sign the agreements.
The I&B ministry's actions may include, but not limited to suspension or cancellation of the cable distribution licence of these MSOs, imposition of financial penalty or initiation of criminal prosecution among others. FE had reported on Tuesday about the actions Trai will take in case of any violation of its advice shared with the stakeholders regarding signing of interconnect agreements by August 21.
''Three out of five MSOs have informed the I&B ministry of having signed the agreements with broadcasters. These are WWIL, Hathway and DEN. Two MSOs namely InCable and Digicable have not signed. We will initiate action against the two soon,'' a senior government official dealing with the matter told FE.
However, when contacted, Ashok Mansukhani, wholetime director, Hinduja Ventures, the promoters of MSO InCable said: ''Discussions are on with the broadcasters and deals will be signed soon. The status of work in progress has been communicated to both Trai and I&B ministry. I don't believe any action is necessary.'' Even Digicable CEO Jagjit Singh Kohli echoed the sentiments. ''We are trying hard to sign the agreements with broadcasters. We have informed on the status to both Trai and I&B. If they still want to intervene, they can. What more can I say,'' Kohli told FE.
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