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India-Eng Test: ESPN softens stand

ESPN decides not to execute its threat of blocking signals to multi-system operators in CAS notified areas of the metros.

cricket Updated: Jul 12, 2007 16:35 IST

Broadcaster ESPN, which holds the rights to telecast India-England Test matches beginning July 19, has decided not to execute its threat of blocking signals to multi-system operators in CAS notified areas of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata till August 25.

The decision, which would ensure that at least some Indian cricket fans get to catch the action of the first Test match, was conveyed by ESPN to broadcast tribunal TDSAT during the hearing on Thursday of two petitions filed by Wire and Wireless (India) Ltd (WWIL) and Hathway Cable and Datacom Pvt Ltd (HCDP).

WWIL and HCDP are among the three MSOs that ESPN threatened to disconnect signals to over differences on subscription rate.

During the proceedings at the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal, Nanju Ganpathy, counsel appearing for ESPN, conveyed that the broadcaster would not disconnect the signals till August 25, next date of hearing.

Meanwhile, TDSAT Chairman Justice Arun Kumar issued notice to ESPN and directed them to file their reply on the issue in four weeks.

As per the national downlinking policy, all sports broadcasters are to share feed of one-day matches with public broadcaster Doordarshan. They, however, have exclusive rights for test matches.

On June 21, ESPN had sent notice to MSOs threatening to disconnect signals from July 14.