In a case of piracy, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has cracked the whip on an MSO for stealing signals of pubcaster Doordarshan’s FreeDish and re-transmitting them over its own network.
“The video recording clearly shows the presence of DD Free Dish Logo and ‘BCN’ logo simultaneously on the output screens of certain channels from BCN Set Top Box. There is no reason to disbelieve or doubt the genuineness of video recording,” MIB said while terminating the registration of Bhusawal Cable Network operating in areas of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh States.
The government had cleared Bhusawal Cable as an MSO with a pan-India registration to provide services in 2015. Under Indian laws, the MSO was bound to comply with all the provisions of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the Rules made with the legislation’s ambit.
On receiving a complaint earlier this year that Bhusawal Cable Network was taking feed from DD FreeDish and re-transmitting on its network, the MIB set up an inquiry into the allegations.
DD FreeDish is a FTA DTH service for which subscribers don’t have to pay any monthly subscription, except making a one-time payment for the dish antennae and the STB. The platform presently carries about 80 TV channels that pay huge amounts of money in an auction to bag slots. Reason? FreeDish’s massive reach in rural India ensuring eyeballs, which are helpful in shoring up advertising revenues of TV channels.
The enquiry report “confirmed the use of DD FreeDish by Bhusawal Cable Network for re-transmission of certain mandatory and private satellite channels with incontrovertible video evidence”, establishing violation of cable TV rules.
A show-cause notice was served on the MSO on September 24, 2021.
Though the MSO concerned termed the video recording and the allegations as being not genuine, but could not furnish any evidence to the contrary. The MSO had also blamed its competitors “trying to oust it of business”.
“Thus, M/s Bhusawal Cable Network Pvt. Ltd. failed to give any satisfactory reply with documentary support in favor of its denial of all the charges levelled against it…Therefore, taking cognizance of the offences committed by M/s Bhusawal Cable Network Pvt. Ltd., the MSO registration granted to it on 04.1I .2015 by this Ministry is terminated/cancelled with immediate effect,” the MIB said in an official communication.
The MSO can still appeal to the MIB Secretary against the registration cancellation order.
There were 1,731 MSOs registered with the MIB as of June 2021. As per data reported to regulator TRAI, there are 12 MSOs and one HITS operator who have a subscriber base of more than one million.