NTC orders ABS-CBN affiliate Sky Cable Corp. to cease direct broadcast satellite services

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Tuesday, June 30, ordered Sky Cable Corporation, an affiliate of ABS-CBN Corp., to halt its services.

In the directive, the NTC ordered Sky Cable to immediately cease and desist operating its direct broadcast satellite (DBS) service assigned to radio frequencies 14421-14457MHz and 12673-12709MHz.

Sky Cable entered into a Transponder Lease Agreement with New Skies Satellites B.V. for the lease of satellite capacity to Sky Cable for the operation of its DBS service.

The NTC said that pursuant to Republic Act No. 7969, the commission issued a provisional authority to Sky Cable Corp. in 2015 to install, operate, and maintain a DBS in 251 cities and municipalities nationwide for the period of December 23, 2015 to June 23, 2017.

“On July 25, 2018, the Commission extended said provisional authority from June 23, 2017 up to but not beyond June 23, 2021, subject to the applicable terms and conditions set forth in the previous provisional authority and conditioned upon compliance with the Commission’s existing rules and regulations,” the order stated.

However, the agency noted that the legislative franchise granted to Sky Cable Corp. by virtue of RA 7969 has expired on May 4, 2020.

“Upon the expiration of RA No. 7969, Sky Cable Corporation no longer has a valid and subsisting congressional franchise to install, operate and maintain a direct broadcast satellite service,” the order read.

The NTC also asked Sky Cable to “show cause in writing” within 10 days why the radio frequencies assigned to it shall not be recalled for “lack of the necessary Congressional Franchise as required by the law.”

“Failure to file an answer within the period herein granted shall be considered Respondents’ waiver of its right to be heard, and the commission shall render such judgement as the law and evidence may warrant,” it said.

The commission also ordered Sky Cable to refund to all its subscribers those amounts representing unconsumed prepaid load, deposits on subscriber equipment and devices, deposit or advance payment in monthly charges for postpaid subscribers, if any, charges collected from new applicants for DBS service.

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