Kolkata's cable TV customers feel CAF heat as blackouts spread

KOLKATA: Kolkata is seeing some frenetic activity on the cable TV front. The city‘s multisystem operators (MSO) have started switching off signals in several pockets in Kolkata where cable operators have failed to comply with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) norms and not provided them with the KYC or CAF forms of their subscribers. But MSOs have also been prompt in bringing the disconnected customers back online once the CAFs are submitted and fed into their systems.

Apparently, the consensus amongst the cable TV fratenity is that cable TV subscribers are understanding the gravity of the situation with their cable TV connections being cut. And they have been a hurry to submit their CAFs now. “About 30,000 boxes had been deactivated and then reactivated after we received filled out forms from them,” said Manthan director Sudeep Ghosh.

 “We are in touch with the MSOs and we have been told that nearly two lakh set top boxes have been deactivated across the city and about 1.3 lakh boxes have been downgraded to DD channels only,” says a TRAI official."And this is working as all the MSOs are saying that they are being flooded with CAFs as compared to earlier when there was lethargy."

The phase-wise deactivation of set top boxes had proved to be effective in sending out the intended message to consumers, he said.

Consumers are confused and are complaining that there had been no intimation to them about the forms.

A DTH service provider said that its call centres are receiving extra call loads with cable TV subscribers enquiring about the options available to them. "Our callers have expressed that it is better to settle with the seamless connection instead of haggling with the cable operator, who is ill-informed and not up to date with what is expected to be done," says the DTH executive.

We will have to simply keep our eyes glued to see if those callers will migrate to DTH. Going by past track records in other cities in phase I and phase II, it probably does not seem likely. Though many have expressed that a paradigm shift is needed.


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