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ESPN, Hathway at loggerheads
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MUMBAI: ESPN Software India has blacked out signals to Hathway Cable & Datacom in parts of Mumbai and Bangalore, claiming that the multi-system operator has dues to the tune of Rs 165 million.

ESPN has issued notice to switch off signals to Hathway across India as the MSO has still not signed the contract with them.

ESPN AVP – affiliate sales Makarand Palekar said, “We have been left with no alternative but to resort to this as Hathway owes us more than Rs 165 million and have been showing no signs of making this payment inspite of repeated requests. We have suggested alternate operators in most locations from whom they can obtain our signals. We hope that the impasse is resolved soon so that we can keep serving the Indian sports fan to the best of our ability.”

When contacted, a senior official from Hathway said on condition of anonymity that this was not the first time that ESPN has switched off signals from the MSO. "The problem in this case is ESPN is asking to hike the rates by 40-50 per cent while we have lost subscribers to other operators and are asking for a reduction,” he added.

ESPN has also filed a petition in the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (Tdsat), which will be heard on 27 November. The sector tribunal, in its order dated 3 November, directed that the parties may negotiate and reconcile their respective accounts before Friday.

“The talks are on for negotiations and we can resolve it amicably. At present they have switched off signals in Mulund, Bhandup, Dombivali and Thane areas of Mumbai,” the Hathway official informed.

Cable operators in many parts of the country are opposing ESPN's drive to ramp up subscribers with a payout that would amount to an increase of over 50 per cent. The sports broadcasting company has two prime properties next year - the football World Cup and T20 World Cup.

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