Cable TV

DAS: Kolkata cable TV rates rise; consumers resist

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KOLKATA: At a time when some cable television viewers in Kolkata are worried about their TV sets going blank for not filling up consumer application forms (CAF) from 24 August, some are worried as they have been rudely presented with a hike in subscription prices of between 30 per cent and 50 per cent, for watching their preferred TV channels.



Hitherto, the monthly tab for cable TV subscribers was between Rs 150-Rs 180 but with digital DAS, the sticker prices are slated to escalate for the same number of channels as earlier, disclosed Cable Operators Digitalisation committee of the Association of Cable Operators convener Swapan Chowdhury said: ?It can go high up to Rs 325 plus service tax which is 12.36 per cent at present,? he said.



?Now customers will have to pay extra,? he agreed.



City based cable operators said the basic package would start at Rs 180 and then with the choice of the channel and packages, it would be Rs180, Rs 230, Rs 280 and Rs 325 respectively exclusive of service tax, going forward.



Apart from the increased monthly subscription fee, the consumers will have to bear another Rs 10 as amusement tax charged by the state government.



Explaining the various packages, the operators said in the basic DAS packages, the consumer might just be offered one sports channel like DD Sports but on upgrading to the second package he might have access to Star Cricket and Sony Six apart from DD Sports. ?But now if the person is interested to watch Ten Sports, ESPN among others, he will have to pay more and go for the higher package,? the operators added. Cable TV subscribers are already experiencing sticker price shock and have expressed their ire against it.



City based cable operators said the basic package would start at Rs 180 and then with the choice of the channel and packages, it would be Rs180, Rs 230, Rs 280 and Rs 325 respectively exclusive of service tax, going forward.



Apart from the increased monthly subscription fee, the consumers will have to bear another 10 per cent as amusement tax charged by the state government.



Explaining the various packages, the operators said in the basic DAS packages, the consumer might just be offered one sports channel like DD Sports but on upgrading to the second package he might have access to Star Cricket and Sony Six apart from DD Sports. ?But now if the person is interested to watch Ten Sports, ESPN among others, he will have to pay more and go for the higher package,? the operators added. Cable TV subscribers are already experiencing sticker price shock and have expressed their ire against it.



A cable operator on the condition of anonymity said in Barrack pore subscribers not only protested the hike in rental but informed the local police authorities that they were being cheated and especially after the Saradha scam. Citing his meeting with the authorities as a ?peculiar meeting? he said he was ordered by the police not to charge a penny more than Rs 180 a month.



While cable TV operators in Shyam Bazaar and north Kolkata vicinity said the customers who are paying Rs 120 every month at present, when asked to pay Rs 150, raised a hue and cry. ?We really do not know how to explain things and convince people,? they said.



?All new emerging delivery platforms like DTH use CAS. Which is going to happen in the case of cable TV too with the spread of digitisation and addressable systems. Subscribers will pay for only the channels they want to watch,? explains a cable operator.



On the other hand, Manthan Broadband Services director Sudip Ghosh feels that with the implementation of the DAS package, the monthly tariffs are likely to be rationalised. ?These have been streamlined in a way that the consumer will pay according to his channel consumption.?

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