The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Tuesday, June 30, ordered ABS-CBN Corporation’s subsidiary Sky Cable Corporation to immediately stop operating its direct broadcast satellite (DBS) service.
The cease and desist order was signed by NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba, and Deputy Commissioners Edgardo Cabarios and Delilah Deles.
“The legislative franchise granted to Sky Cable Corporation by virtue of RA (Republic Act) 7969 expired on May 4, 2020,” the order pointed out.
“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,” it added.
Sky Cable was given 10 days from receipt of the cease and desist order to explain why the radio frequencies assigned to them will not be recalled for lack of the necessary congressional franchise, which is required by law.
The NTC also ordered the company to refund to all its subscribers 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.
Pursuant to RA 7969, the order explained that the NTC issued a provisional authority to Sky Cable on December 23, 2015 to install, operate, and maintain a DBS in the 251 cities and/or municipalities throughout the country for the period December 23, 2015 to June 23, 2017.
On July 25, 2018, the NTC extended the provisional authority “from June 23, 2017 up to but not beyond June 23, 2021” as it was “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.”
Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta earlier questioned why several ABS-CBN television shows and channels were still airing despite the expiration of its franchise on May 4.