Around 1.80 lakh defaulters in Kolkata face TV blackout as of 26 August

KOLKATA: With the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) pressuring service providers in Kolkata to disconnect the television connections of customers for not submitting the subscriber application forms, multiple system operators, more than 1.80 lakh customers have experienced a black out till Monday evening.

While talking about the snapping of the connection which started from Saturday morning, Den Networks, Hathway Cable and Datacom and Manthan Broadband Services snapped the maximum number of cable connections, out of 80,000 which were disconnected on August 24.

Also, with just around 45 days remaining for the grand festival of Durga Puja, some cable operators are relaxed and have assured the customers that they can send the details after the festival is over, said a customer, using the service of one of the players, which has maximum penetration in KM area.

Industry sources said: “The consumer application forms (CAF) of these MSOs were not ready as compared to other players like SitiCable. As a result, the three MSOs had to switch off the connection,” adding that the MSO will continue to switch-off few connections at a time in the coming days to guard against law-and-order problem.

As per the TRAI mandate, the MSOs were supposed to switch-off the cable connections of those customers, who had not filled-up the CAFs in Kolkata post midnight of 23 August.

Committee of the Association of Cable Operators, Cable Operators Digitalisation convener Swapan Chowdhury said the MSOs have been asked by the TRAI to provide details of TV connections running illegally in the KM area.

Siticable that has disconnected more than 90,000 subscribers till Monday evening, has seen a good response from customers. "We are not switching off the connections of CAF non compliance customers at a go. We are doing it in small numbers - say 15,000," expounded Siticable director (Kolkata) Suresh Sethia.

Manthan Broadband Services which has installed 6.5 lakh to seven lakh set top boxes, had alone disconnected around 30,000 connections on Saturday, said Manthan Broadband Services director Sudip Ghosh.

“Our purpose is not to switch-off the connection. But after snapping say four connections, more than 100 customers have approached from the vicinity,” he added.

Seeing the fast response from the customers, it can be easily assumed that in the KM DAS area, CAFs rate is likely to be 70 per cent to 80 per cent in next six days - seven days, Ghosh predicted.

Den Networks and Hathway Cable and Datacom could not be asked specifically about the connections snapped by them in KM area.

Cable Shilpa Bachao Committee convener Mrinal Chatterjee said instead of disconnecting the TV sets, TRAI should penalise the MSOs and not the customers by asking MSOs to switch off the connection; as the CAFs were not given to the customers on time.

With no official extension notice from the regulatory body, will Kolkata see deactivation of set-top boxes of more and more defaulters at this juncture? Watch this space for the latest updates.

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