There has been a new development with the DTH service provider which has gone bust from the industry and has stopped its operations. The DTH operator that we are talking about is Independent TV. A few months back, Independent TV faced disruption in its services when its signal was cut off by Antrix Corporation, following non-payment of dues. It is worth noting that Antrix is the commercial arm of ISRO and provides the signal to the DTH entity. Now, nearly after four months of disconnection and being out of service, Independent TV has filed a new application in the Telecom Disputes Settlements and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to modify the order which the tribunal had passed on July 2 regarding the matter between itself and Antrix.
TDSAT July 2 Order to Independent TV and Antrix
To recall, in its July 2, 2019 order, TDSAT had ordered Independent TV to either pay Antrix Rs 5.83 crore cash and Rs 6 crore in bank guarantees. Or, the DTH operator also had the option of altogether furnishing Rs 12 crore worth of bank guarantees for the next two months which would ensure the resumption of signal for Independent TV. The order also directed Antrix to resume signal as soon as Independent TV made the payment.
Now, during the hearing of the matter, the tribunal noted that Independent TV only wanted to clear the arrears of Antrix before proceeding with the future agreement and payment of the same which was the reason by Independent TV was not up for providing security and bank guarantee. Independent TV was also in need of Antrix to help it facilitate an agreement with some other entities which provide transponder capacity. The tribunal had then stated that the figures of July 2 order are tentative and that the parties were free to reconcile the accounts in that regard.
The TDSAT then permitted Antrix to approach Antrix Corporation with a detailed application with its request and the offer to liquidate the dues which it owed to the signal provider. In case, Independent TV makes such a request, then Antrix will have to consider this request without ay prejudice over the pending application. To allow Independent TV to file this letter and its request, the matter has been adjourned till November 7 in the TDSAT.
Independent TV Subscribers Lash Out Online
It is worth noting that Independent TV has been out of service for almost four months now and the subscribers and the other officials including distributors of Independent TV have been in distress. Some of the subscribers who had paid for long term plans on the channel have also not been able to reach the operator and have been lashing out online on Twitter. The distributors of Independent TV have also complained that the company owes them around Rs 2 crore in commissions and deposits. Currently, there is no timeline as to when Independent TV will resume its services and initiate refunds to its subscribers although the operator has been giving continuous reassurances since the past few months.