Cable TV

DAS III extension leads to payment tiff; MSO blacks out Star channels in WB

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MUMBAI: The multi-system operator in West Bengal Manthan continues to black out Star TV channels over a payment dispute since last Friday. Over five and a half lakh reported Manthan subscribers in Kolkata did not have access to over 45 channels such as Star Plus, National Geographic, Star Jalsha, and Star Sports.

The Phase III extension of cable network, earlier set for completion by 31 December 2015, postponed by 13 months. The current blackout is the fourth one on Manthan since June 2016.

With a number of interesting sporting events scheduled this week, the deprivation could seriously hit subscribers who felt cheated. On 15 January, Virat Kohli's team is scheduled to face England in ODI match. Reportedly, neither Manthan nor Star India on Monday took an initiative although talks were due, and subscribers continued to be deprived of the channels for more days.

Manthan executive Sudip Ghosh told Times that though they would like to have the channels back soon, there were issues between them to be resolved. He said they already paid 13 months' subscription for Phase III extension of cable network in advance. But, the government deferred the extension till 31January, which meant they paid in excess. If that money was adjusted against their dues, there would be no arrears on their part. Star India however claimed an immediate payment of subscription dues from the MSO.

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