Goodbye SkyCable! NTC orders SkyCable satellite service to immediately stop, refund subscription fees

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Tuesday ordered Lopez-led Sky Cable Corp. to immediately stop operating its satellite broadcasting service nationwide and directed to refund all its subscribers for unconsumed prepaid loads and subscription fees. 

In a three-page order, NTC ordered Sky Cable to immediately cease and desist operating its direct broadcast satellite service (DBS) using radio frequencies 14421-14457 MHz and 12673-12709MHz after its Congressional franchise to install, operate and maintain the service expired last May 4, 2020. 

“Upon the expiration of RA No. 7969, SkyCable Corp. no longer has a valid and subsisting congressional franchise to install, operate and maintain a direct broadcast satellite service, “ NTC said.

In July 25, 2018, the NTC extended the provisional authority of SkyCable 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.” 

SkyCable is operating in 251 cities and/or municipalities throughout the country.  Its Sky Direct subscribers stood at 1.2 million subscribers as of  September 2019. 

Sky Direct offers both prepaid and postpaid packages with exclusive channels  from ABS-CBN and Creative Programs such as ABS-CBN HD, ABS-CBN News Channel,  ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD, Cinema One, Jeepney TV, Metro Channel, Liga, and Myx.

On top of its basic plan, SkyDirect subscribers can add channels such as Discovery, Blue Ant Entertainment, KBS World, Nickelodeon, Metro Channel, History, Nick Jr. , SXN, TMC, TC and TVN. 

The NTC also ordered SkyCable to refund all its subscribers those amounted representing unconsumed prepaid loads, deposits on subscribers equipment and devices, deposit or advance payment in monthly charges for prepaid subscribers, if any charges collected for new applicant for DBS service. 

The regulator also asked SkyCable to respond in writing within 10 days from receipt of the order why the radio frequencies assigned to it shall to be recalled for lack of Congressional franchise. 

“Failure to file 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 aw and evidence may warrant,” NTC said. 

The NTC also issued a separate order, directing ABS-CBN to immediately cease and desist from operating digital TV transmissions in Metro Manila using Channel 43. 

The program under Channel 43 (644-650MHz) were Cine Mo, Yey!, DZMM TeleRadyo and KBO. 

ABS-CBN TVPlus users stood at nearly 9 million as of last year. 

Carlo Katigbak, president and chief executive of ABS-CBN earlier said that 11 million homes or  equivalent to 55 million people will lose their source of information if the governor will stop the operations of SkyCable and TVPlus. 

On May 5, the NTC ordered to stop the operations of ABS-CBN due to expired Congressional franchise. 

The network, which airs on Channel 2 on free television and through AM radio dzMM and FM radio MOR, signed off on both platforms after its evening newscast that ended at 8 p.m. of May 5.  Their regional channels and affiliates were expected to follow suit.

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