Cable TV

Cable bills in Kolkata to see a 15 per cent hike from 1 August

KOLKATA: Cable TV viewers in the Kolkata Municipal Area (KMA) will have to face another price hike in their cable TV bills, starting 1 August. This, after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) hiked the tariff ceiling by 15 per cent for broadcasters.


While consumers in the region have still been coping with the price hike after TRAI made gross billing mandatory, multi system operators (MSOs) are now all set to increase the channel package rates by 15 per cent.  


That apart, more than 31 lakh cable TV homes in Kolkata may witness both channel addition and deletion. A few favourite channels can also be included in the new package with additional charges. However, MSOs have assured that the rentals for the Janata Pack will remain unchanged.


Most MSOs linked the price rise to the TRAI regulation on tariff hike.


Siticable Kolkata director Suresh Sethiya said, “After the price defreeze proposed by the regulator, that is 15 per cent, April onward, when MSOs now sit with broadcasters for renewal of channel contracts, they will have to shell out more money compared to the previous contracts. We can’t take the pinch on ourselves as we don’t have enough resource to fall back upon. Therefore cable rents are bound to go up in the range of 15-20 per cent from 1 August.”


“We have no other option but to increase the channel package rates as the broadcasters have started bargaining a lot,” said a small MSO operating in Kolkata.  


An official from KCBPL-GTPL, referring to the directive of Train on Subscriber Management System (SMS) and online up gradation said, “We are bound to increase the price as we have to show the bill and pay tax on that. Secondly, to follow the new bill delivery system of TRAI, we will incur additional costs in terms of software development and manpower.”


Since DAS has yet not been implemented on ground in any area, subscribers are suffering. “LCOs have started taking full package charge from subscribers in the name of TRAI. But, sadly the same is not being passed on to us. While the LCOs are making good profit and broadcasters are earning more and more, MSOs are still suffering from the financial crunch. In the past few months, our financial health has gone from bad to worse. Questions are now being raised on our existence in the future,” concluded another MSO operating in the region.

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