Wednesday, July 8, 2020

NTC Orders Sky Direct, TV Plus To Cease Operations

NTC Orders Sky Direct, TV Plus To Cease Operations

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National Telecommunications Commissions (NTC) has filed two cease and desist orders (CDO) against ABS-CBN’s subsidiaries.

Viewers have witnessed another day in history when their TV screens once again faded to black on a Tuesday night.

Sky Direct

Sky Direct is direct-broadcast subscription that telecasts via satellite. As of press, around 1.5 million subscribers nationwide are going to be affected by this motion.

In this case, NTC has demanded the company to “refund to all its subscribers those amounts representing unconsumed prepaid loads, deposits on subscriber equipment and devices, deposit or advance payment in monthly charges for postpaid subscribers, if any, charges collected from new applicants for the direct broadcast satellite service, and other charges collected.”

NTC cited that the legislative franchise given to Sky Cable has already expired on May 4, 2020—a day before the ABS-CBN shutdown was ordered.

“Sky Cable no longer has a valid reason and subsisting congressional franchise to install, operate and maintain a direct broadcast satellite service,” it read.

CDO authors NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba, and Deputy Commissioners Edgardo Cabarios and Delilah have given Sky Cable a 10-day ultimatum to provide an explanation as to why why the frequencies assigned to it “should not be recalled for lack of the necessary congressional franchise as required by law.”

In a statement released on Tuesday evening, ABS-CBN wrote that they will continue to comply to NTC’s requirements to ensure the franchise renewal.

“In the spirit of fairness, we continue to appeal to the NTC to extend the same privilege given in the past to other companies whose franchises have expired but are currently pending in Congress to continue its operations until a resolution is passed. We assure our subscribers that we will exhaust all legal remedies to resume our services.”

Moreover, Sky Cable remains available despite exhibiting a decline in sales because of the customers switching to Sky Direct.

Channel 43

Meanwhile, NTC has also ordered TV Plus to halt broadcast of ABS-CBN TV Plus using Channel 43 because of its dependence to the embattled ABS-CBN.

Since the network received the CDO on May 5, ABS-CBN has been utilizing TV Plus as a substitute platform where viewers can continue to watch their favorite TV shows.

TV Plus is a digital box that consists of several exclusive channels. Among these are TeleRadyo, Jeepney TV, Yey!, Asianovela Channel, CineMo, and KBO.

In a separate statement, CEO Carlo Katigbak pointed out that the first CDO filed against them does not mention the ceasing of Channel 43.

“I have a copy of the cease and desist order issued to ABS-CBN…and the cease and desist order does not cover Channel 43,” Katigbak noted.

On top of these, ABS-CBN has a pending petition at the Supreme Court questioning NTC’s CDO. Despite the charges against them, the media giant “hopes that such petition will be resolved soon in its favor so that it can resume broadcasting on both analog and digital platforms in the service of the Filipino.”

Upon the CDO’s effectivity, an estimated 11 million Filipinos are going to be deprived of news and information.

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