Licence revoke Home Cable to move Delhi High Court against Govt

NEW DELHI: Delhi-based Home Cable is readying to move the Delhi High Court to appeal against the cancellation by the government of its MSO registration late last month.

Viklki Chaudhry who owns the MSO said he will now approach the Delhi High Court to appeal against this "arbitray order issued with mala fide intentions by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry" and will also raise the issues that "we have pointed out numerous times but which have been conveniently ignored for reasons best known to the ministry officials".

He said Home Cable had sent information regarding digital access system information as required and the punitive action was therefore "completely arbitrary after the Ministry failed to respond to our queries".

Alleging that I&B Minister Ambika Soni was being misguided by the Secretary, he said the Ministry had overlooked the interests of the consumers in its hurry to implement the DAS Regulation.

The statement points out that the MSO has repeatedly pointed out during the entire digitisation consultation process that:

1. Domestic manufacturing of the set-top boxes (STBs) should be encouraged so that there is no dependence on the Chinese import, as there is requirement of billions of these STBs to be supplied/ installed at every consumer home in the country depending on the number of TV sets owned by a household.

2. What the consumer will pay in order to obtain the digital STB is still unclear and no details are available about warranty and after sales service of imported boxes.

3. The fee to be paid by the consumer to the pay channels/service cost per month was still unclear. He said the former Trai chairman had deliberately kept this issue under forbearance and did not fix any tariff / rates for the pay TV channels as he was to retire within 15 days from the day he had to issue the tariff notification of forbearance for the pay TV channels. This may result in consumers end up paying three to four times more for the cable TV subscription each month.

4. The LCO/ LMO s are not being brought under the ambit of this DAS regulation. Though they are the people who are solely responsible for convincing the subscribers, install STB, collection of subscription and servicing 24x7 with some QoS at the consumer homes. At least they should also be asked to get registered for longer duration and some norms for providing Quality of Service (Q0S) to the consumers be defined for them. Otherwise, we will see the consumers being put to exploitation and undue hardship.

5. Why has DTH also not been brought under the DAS regulation when it is the same content/product that is being provided to the consumers, Chaudhary wants to know. "Are the present Government and the Ministry officials bent upon making the business of already bleeding DTH companies by making the cable TV services costlier for the consumers so that these companies increase their subscriptions to consumers , providing an opportunity for these ventures to be commercially viable? Today DTH has to meet up with the prevailing cable TV rates in the country when offering their packages. Cable operators cannot increase the rates to keep them affordable by the masses."

Home Cable will now be evoking the jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court to appeal against this arbitrary order issued with mala fide intentions by the I&B Ministry and will also raise the issues that "we have pointed out numerous times but they have been conveniently ignoring for reasons best known to the Ministry officials", the statement stated.

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