Regulators

TRAI asks Kolkata MSOs to start gross billing by next week

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KOLKATA: It was just last week that indiantelevision.com reported that Kolkata multi-system operators (MSOs) are likely to start the gross (consumer) billing process from 10 December following a directive by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

Now, TRAI met the MSOs again on 6 December and has asked them to start the billing process by 15 December.

Kolkata has around 30 lakh cable television homes. As of now, an informal billing process is in place, but with effect from November, customers may have to pay the bill as per the package. “Collection may come in the next two-three months,” said Siticable Kolkata director Suresh Sethia.

“Billing for the November package will start by 15 December. We will also advertise in newspapers and on our local channels to make our consumers aware about this development,” added Sethia.

Siticable has around 10-11 lakh STBs in Kolkata Digital Addressable System-I (DAS-I) area.

Explaining the details of the bill payment process, one of the MSOs informed that if a customer has chosen a package of Rs 180, he will have to pay Rs 180 + Rs 10 (amusement tax) + 12.36 per cent of Rs 180 (service tax) in the coming time.

The billing system will bring transparency and organise the business, however, some operators are opposing it.

But, the view of the majority is that only digitalisation can bring uniformity and a system in the so-called unorganised sector. Manthan Broadband director Sudip Ghosh said, “Billing is the first step to inform consumers of the changed ecosystem in a digitised environment.”

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