Chennai cable ops say Govt’s digital STB figures faulty

MUMBAI: After cable operators from Kolkata, it‘s the turn of their counterparts in Chennai to dispute the digital television penetration figures given by the Ministry of Information and broadcasting (MIB).

The Chennai Metro Cable Operators Association (CMCOA) has written a letter to the Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni saying the government‘s claim that 69 per cent cable TV households in Chennai have been seeded with set-top boxes is incorrect.

According to CMCOA, the Chennai DAS area has four million cable television homes, but only 160,000 homes have been seeded with STBs. "You may call for latest SMS report of any pay channel billed with two existing MSOs Kal cables and Jak Communications,” CMCOA general secretry M R Srinivasan said in the letter.

CMCOA also said both the existing MSOs don‘t have enough STBs to seed.

"Considering the above facts kindly review the DAS implementation exclusive for Chennai after Task Force and Becil inspection in Chennai physically, Srinivasan added.

Earlier, Kolkata Cable & Broadband Operators Welfare Association (KCBOWA) had issued a rejoinder to the ministry’s claim. The KCBOWA had disputed the claim that STBs had been deployed in 60 per cent of the cable TV homes in Kolkata by mid-September, up from 20.67 per cent in June, saying the MSOs did not have adequate supply of STBs.

The MIB had on 28 September through a statement said that the digitisation penetration in the four metro cities was 73 per cent up from 68 per cent announced earlier.

Incidentally, the West Bengal government had last week urged the government to extend the digitisation deadline in Kolkata due to the Durga Puja festivities and unavailability of STBs.

The government had once earlier extended the digitisation deadline from 30 June to 31 October.

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