NTC shuts down Sky Cable, TV Plus channels; Another big blow to ABS-CBN

Tuesday June 30, 2020 ()

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, dealt ABS-CBN Corporation with another big blow when it issued cease and desist orders against its subsidiary Sky Cable Corp. and its TVPlus channels.

ABS-CBN TV Plus
(ABS-CBN TV Plus)

The regulatory body came out with two separate orders a day after its officials attended a hearing at the House of Representatives. The orders were signed by NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba.

The NTC said the other platforms should also be closed because these were covered by the cease and desist order it issued on May 5, 2020. The order reads:

"Upon the expiration of RA (Republic Act) 7969, Sky Cable Corporation no longer has a valid and subsisting congressional franchise to install, operate or maintain a Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) Service."

Sky Cable was also directed to explain in 10 days why the radio frequencies assigned to it should not be recalled "for lack of necessary congressional franchise as required by law."

ABS-CBN was also ordered to refund to 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 DBS service, and other charges collected."

In the second order, the NTC ordered the shutdown of the network's digital TV transmission in Metro Manila using Channel 43.

The network said it would comply with the NTC order. In a statement it said:

"While channel 43 is not mentioned in NTC's cease and desist order (CDO) of May 5, 2020, and it is ABS-CBN's informed understanding that channel 43 is not included in the CDO, digital TV transmission in Metro Manila using channel 43 will cease tonight."

"This means that viewers with TVPlus set-top boxes in Metro Manila will be unable to watch Teleradyo, Jeepney TV, Yey!, Asianovela Channel, CineMo and KBO."

The network said it had a pending petition with the Supreme Court questioning the NTC's cease and desist order

"and 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."

Sky Cable said the NTC's order would deprive SKY Direct's 1.5 million subscribers nationwide of access to its services begining Tuesday night. The company said:

"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."

It assured subscribers that it would exhaust "all legal remedies to resume our services". It added:

"We will refund all unconsumed prepaid loads and advance postpaid payments. We appeal to our SKYdirect subscribers and partners for understanding and patience as we undergo this process."

Sources:

  1. ABS-CBN dealt another blow, The Manila Times Headlines, Jomar Canlas, July 1, 2020
  2. Other online news outlets

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