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Cable TV subscribers unhappy with raised subscription fees

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KOLKATA: Indiantelevision.com has done a series of reports on the concerns of local cable operators (LCOs) and multi system operators (MSOs) around the process of digitisation.

However, what we haven’t touched upon yet is the response of city-based cable TV consumers to DAS, especially the 30 to 50 per cent increase in subscription charges over the past two months.

Cable subscribers in Barasat, Hooghly, Khardah, some parts of Salt Lake and northern Kolkata – regions that fall under DAS 1 - are learnt to be fuming over LCOs’ decision to randomly increase subscription rates.

So much so, some of them are refusing to pay subscription fees while others are willing to pay just the fees, sans the service tax and amusement tax components and without getting proper bills from the LCOs.

Cable Operators Digitalisation Committee of the Association of Cable Operators convener Swapan Chowdhury says: “Customers were expecting to get the bills and now, on not getting the bills, are upset. Some are not willing to pay even the monthly rental.”

Analyst Namit Dave feels customers who were used to paying on an average Rs 60 - Rs 90 during the analogue regime are uncomfortable shelling out higher viewing charges.

According to cable ops in Shyam Bazaar and north Kolkata, customers who used to pay Rs 120 per month are raising a hue and cry when asked to pay Rs 150 as monthly rental.

“We really do not know how to explain things and convince people,” said a cable operator.

Barasat resident Tumpai Das argued that the sudden increase of subscription fee from Rs 150 to Rs 280 was unjustified.

“The local cable operators have not added anything new in terms of quality in connection or channels. They have started collecting this amount for the past two months. If they are not controlled, soon they may hike again,” he rues.

“We are not being issued a valid bill. When we ask for a bill, they just write it in a white paper and issue it. If the cable operators are not controlled, they would fleece us to any extent. We would have no other option but to opt for DTH connection if they hike the charges further,” says a retired teacher from Hooghly.

Meanwhile, Cable Operators Sangram Committee general secretary Apurba Bhattacharya feels that going forward the situation is unlikely to change unless billing begins.

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