wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The Telecom Dispute Settlement And Appellate Tribunal says that OTT platforms are not TV channels, not under TRAI’s jurisdiction

TDSAT, in its ruling, said it did not believe AIDCF would face any ‘irreparable loss’ if Star Sports is not restrained from offering its content via Disney+Hotstar.

“Prima Facie, [an] OTT platform is not a TV channel, covered by TRAI 2(r) of the regulations, 2017,”The Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) concluded in its judgment on the petition of All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF) against Star India Pvt Limited. In this case, (filed last month)  AIDCF argued that Star India is charging them for their channel whereas is allowing the download of its own over-the-top (OTT) application and permitting customers to view Star Sports free of charge. This, it says, is in violation of Regulation 3(2) of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017.

TDSAT says that looking at the provisions of the IT Act and the rules framed under it and also at the TRAI Act, 1997, “there is no prima facie case with this petitioner [AIDCF]”. The tribunal believes that AIDCF will not face any irreparable loss if Star Sports is not restrained from providing its content via Disney+ Hotstar. As such, it refused to restrain Star Sports from providing viewers with free-of-charge access to its content. TDSAT says that AIDCF can maintain a list of consumers who have subscribed to the Star Sports channel on its platform and present this before the final hearing. It has adjourned the matter till 18 December 2023. 

What does Regulation 3(2) say?

Under this regulation,  every broadcaster has to “provide, on non-discriminatory basis, the signals of television channel to the distributor or convey the reasons in writing for rejection of the request if the signals of television channel are denied to such distributor,” within sixty days of receiving a written request from a distributor of television channels for obtaining signals of a television channel or within thirty days of signing of an interconnection agreement with the distributor. Further, the imposition of an unreasonable request by a broadcaster shall constitute a denial of service.

Article continues below ⬇, you might also want to read:

  • Disney+ Hotstar And Other Streaming Platforms Join Fight Against Google Play Billing Policy
  • Sajith Sivanandan Tapped To Lead Disney+ Hotstar On Its Journey Without IPL Rights
  • Disney’s Earnings Report: Disney+ Hostar Loses 12.5 Million Subscribers Between April And July
  • TRAI Doubles Down On The Need For An Industry Led Body To Regulate Cloud Services

It also mentions that this sub-regulation would not apply to, “a distributor of television channels, who requests signals of a particular television channel from a broadcaster while at the same time demands carriage fee for distribution of that television channel or who is in default of payment to the broadcaster and continues to be in such default.”

What AIDCF’s legal counsel argues:

AIDCF’s lawyers submitted before the Tribunal, its judgment in Petition No.295(C) of 2014 and (2019) 2SCC 104, to argue that either Star Sports should be restrained from providing its content free of charge or should also provide free of charge access to its content to AIDCF as well. 

They argued that the TDSAT has jurisdiction over Star’s OTT platform (that is, Disney+ Hostar) by mentioning that the company is using broadband internet for content distribution which falls within the definition of telegraph under the Indian Telegraph Act. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

How Star India’s counsel responded:

Star India’s lawyers said that the company wears two hats— one as a broadcaster and another as an OTT platform. They argued that the regulations do not mention OTT platforms under their ambit and that, “nothing can be added in this definition by this Tribunal.” Further, they said that the regulation being cited was meant for regulating the distribution of signals of TV channels and an OTT platform is not a TV channel at all.

They pointed out that OTT platforms do not require a license from the government and that under the current regulations in India, would fall under the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 and not under the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Act, 1997. 

STAY ON TOP OF TECH NEWS: Our daily newsletter with the top story of the day from MediaNama, delivered to your inbox before 9 AM. Click here to sign up today!


Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

Free Reads


TRAI first introduced the idea of displaying the caller's name in a consultation paper back in 2022.


As per reports, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) will be enabled with 5G capability and will be built to function in extreme temperatures and...


One of the X posts on Krutrim that blew up was about the AI model claiming that it was created by OpenAI as opposed...

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



Notably, Indus Appstore will allow app developers to use third-party billing systems for in-app billing without having to pay any commission to Indus, a...


The existing commission-based model, which companies like Uber and Ola have used for a long time and still stick to, has received criticism from...


Factors like Indus not charging developers any commission for in-app payments and antitrust orders issued by India's competition regulator against Google could contribute to...


Is open-sourcing of AI, and the use cases that come with it, a good starting point to discuss the responsibility and liability of AI?...


RBI Deputy Governor Rabi Shankar called for self-regulation in the fintech sector, but here's why we disagree with his stance.

You May Also Like


Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...


135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...


By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...


Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ