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BSNL challenges TDSAT order on choice of interconnection link
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State-owned BSNL on Monday moved the Supreme Court against an order of telecom tribunal TDSAT, directing it to provide interconnection to Anil Ambani group firm Reliance Communications through copper-based link.

BSNL petition was mentioned before a bench, comprising justice P Sathasivam and justice BS Chauhan, which said that it would consider the matter after hearing it.

It observed that as TDSAT had passed the order in May 2009 and has been implemented, there was no urgency in the matter.

"Stay is not possible at this stage. Now you (BSNL) are seeking stay after implementation of the order (TDSAT's)" the bench said.

Telecom operators have to interconnect their networks with one another either through active link, based on Optical Fiber Link (OFL) or passive link, which uses old copper wire.

Telcos pay one another infrastructure charges for network interconnection.

BSNL submitted that OFL is presently the best medium that is based on advanced technology and unlike copper wire link, signals on it are not disrupted by the outside sources such as electricity, rain and humidity.

RCom approached TDSAT in 2005 challenging BSNL's demand notice and requesting the tribunal to direct the state-owned firm to provide interconnection to it on passive links.

Rcom contended that choice of the link should depend on the seeker and not on the interconnection provider like BSNL. This was allowed by TDSAT on May 11, 2009.

"TDSAT completely erred in holding that the choice of interconnection link is that of the interconnection seeker," BSNL submitted in its petition, adding "choice of the type of interconnection link is that of the interconnection provider and can not be of the interconnection seeker".

BSNL further submitted that it would "have to incur substantial investments for providing passive links".

It also raised questions over TDSAT's observation that "there is no difference in quality of service" whether the link is active or passive.

"The conclusion of TDSAT that there is no rationality for insistence on the part of BSNL on active link is completely erroneous misconceived and based on an incorrect assumption... TDSAT order deserved to be set aside," said BSNL in its petition before the Apex Court.
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