Kolkata MSOs racing against time to meet DAS deadline

KOLKATA: Multi System Operators (MSOs) and local cable operators (LCOs) in Kolkata are busy collecting the consumer application forms (CAF) and feeding in details for the complete implementation of the Digital Addressable System (DAS).

"There‘s a huge increase in workload, and everything has to be collected quicker and reported quicker," says a Kolkata headquartered MSO. While a LOC says: "It‘s very tiring to go home and get called back in again, and go home and get called back in again for clarifications and further clarifications."

With the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) confirming last week that it will strictly adhere to the 23 August deadline for implementation of subscriber management system (SMS) rollout in Kolkata, the MSOs and cable operators are collecting the know your client (KYC) form details and subscribers‘ choice of channels swiftly and are racing against time to feed the data into their systems day and night.

So far 30-35 per cent of the subscriber management system (SMS) data of cable consumers in Kolkata is completed as per the TRAI data.

SitiCable which controls a substantial share of cable TV users in Kolkata said the call centers would update the details overnight. "We will work overnight and plan to achieve as much of the work before the deadline," said SitiCable (Kolkata) director Suresh Sethia.

SitiCable has set up around 11.5 lakh digital addressable systems (DAS) here.

While for Manthan Broadband Services there are no holidays and Sundays. "We have 6.5 lakh to seven lakh subscribers. The CAF rate was around 25 per cent for us last week," said Manthan Broadband Services director Sudip Ghosh.

"The operators connected with Manthan are working 10 times faster than before," added Ghosh.

While Manthan Broadband Services director Gurmeet Singh, said: "With the regulation, we have to collect 100 per cent details. We have no other choice than asking the operators to work and achieve the target."

DEN Networks CEO SN Sharma said the CAF collection rate for it‘s close to three lakh STBs in Kolkata is nearly 40 per cent-45 per cent.

"Before the deadline, we aim to achieve 85 per cent -90 per cent work," said Sharma with assurance.

"The operators are so lethargic that the customers have not yet got the forms and we are getting calls from frantic TV viewers now," said a MSO. "We have asked them to download the form from the website and fill it up, scan and mail it to us if possible so that their TV screens do not go blank," he added.

With just five days in hand to meet the switch-off date, other MSOs and LCOs said that they have deployed more personnel on shift and temporary basis.

"Consumer Application Form (CAF) collection rate is expected to be around 70 per cent-75 per cent altogether in Kolkata by 23 August," assumes Sethia.

"Achieving 100 per cent target by 23 August is next to impossible. Kolkata will miss the deadline," said Association of Cable Operators, Cable Operators Digitalisation Committee convener Swapan Chowdhury. "But the cable TV industry people are toiling hard now," he expounded.

On the other hand industry sources on the condition of anonymity said it is not possible to give authentic data in just five days. "Filling up more than 18 lakh CAFs is not a matter of joke. The LCO may tick mark the preference of the users themselves," he said. "For not providing genuine information, the MSOs may face dreadful consequences," he hinted.

If around 5,000 local cable operators and 14 MSOs, which provide service in DAS areas do not abide by the deadline of submitting the CAFs, TRAI may file a case against any MSO, concluded a source.

With the clock ticking and TRAI not willing to give any leeway, the MSOs and LCOs have their work cut out.

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