Cable TV

AFs: Mumbai switch offs begin; Kolkata quo vadis?

MUMBAI: With Delhi under control now, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is focusing increasingly on the other two metros to ensure that all the consumer application forms (CAFs) come in to the MSOs.

Following a meeting held on 2 August with MSOs operating in Mumbai and Kolkata, a decision has been taken that the time for carrots is over, now one needs to use the stick to get customers to get moving on their CAFs. And that stick is like Delhi is switching off their cable TV service, if the CAF is not yet in.

“There will be no further extensions like in the past," says a senior TRAI official. "In fact, the switch offs have already begun from 3 August. The process for switching off the set top boxes will take at least four to five days because we are talking about a huge number.”

Hathway Cable & Datacom MD and CEO Jagdish Kumar agrees that his network has started switching off subscribers who are being tardy from 3 August. "But the process will be tedious," he says. “So far, we have managed to collect 80 per cent of the forms duly filled.” spoke to another three MSOs operating in the financial capital and all of them stated that CAF collection was between 70 and 80 per cent. Going by that yardstick, it appears as if cable TV subscribers don't seem to be too disturbed about the stick, as the numbers mentioned by MSOs to even a month ago were in that range. Could they be opting for a DTH connection? We do not know, but a media observer, says that it could be a possibility.

The TRAI official says that Kolkata should not expect to be treated with kid's gloves. “When Delhi can meet the deadline why not Kolkata?" he questions. "We are sure that Kolkata will be able to meet the 23 August deadline as it does not have any other option."

Well cable TV operators and subscribers in Kolkata, that's as ominous a warning as you can get!

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