Appellate court reinstates Newsnet’s nationwide ops

The Court of Appeals’ special 11th Division overturned the National Telecommunication Commission’s cease and desist order against News and Entertainment Network Corporation Inc., effectively reinstating the network’s full operations. Newsnet is an affiliate of publicly-listed Now Corp. of businessman Mel Velarde.

In a decision dated 16 August, the CA reversed the orders dated 9 February 2021 and 12 August 2021 that terminated the provisional authority of Newsnet to operate until 1 October 2021 and directed the latter to suspend its system operations.

The decision greenlights the network’s operation and maintenance of the 25.35 to 26.35 GHz spectrum Local MultiPoint Distribution System to deliver interactive pay television and multimedia services in Metro Manila.

Newsnet holds a congressional franchise and licenses to operate cable TV and other multimedia services.

Penned by Justice Myra V. Garcia-Fernandez and concurred by Justice Tita Marilyn B. Payoyo-Villordon and Justice Emily R. Alino-Geluz, the order also asserted that Newsnet is qualified and entitled to an extension or renewal of its PA to operate a cable system in Metro Manila.

“In its order, respondent NTC did not cite the absence of financial or technical qualifications of the petitioner or the latter’s violation of rules and regulations of the NTC as a valid grounds for termination of provisional to operate,” the CA said.

NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba told the court that the NTC canceled Newsnet’s PA and issued the CDO to its Metro Manila and nationwide operations due to the expiration of Newsnet’s legislative franchise last 1 October 2021.

To recall, the special eighth Division of the CA also resolved the Anti-Red Tape Authority’s powers over NTC on Newsnet, ordering the regulator to assign the same 26 GHz frequency in favor of Newsnet nationwide.

Given these two CA decisions, along with the 26 GHz frequency assignments, Newsnet with the NOW Group can legally expand its services nationwide.

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