TRAI-MSO to meet on 16 Dec to assess CAF

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has called for a national multi-system operator (MSO) meeting on Monday, 16 December. The meeting has been called to assess the report on collection of consumer application forms (CAFs) in the 38 cities falling in Digital Addressable System (DAS) phase II. 

Earlier, on 29 November, TRAI had met all the MSOs and had set 15 December as the deadline for submitting 100 per cent CAFs.

We had to submit the CAFs, including subscriber details and package details by 15 December. TRAI has called for the meeting to assess the situation says SN Sharma

“We had to submit the CAFs, including subscriber details and package details by 15 December. TRAI has called for the meeting to assess the situation. It is a follow-up of the meeting we had earlier with the regulator,” says DEN Networks CEO SN Sharma.

 The regulator has called for the meeting to review the progress made in the DAS phase II areas. “Though in the last meeting, we had asked for a one month extension to complete CAF, the regulator had given clear directions to complete CAFs in the specified period of 15 days,” adds Hathway Cable & Datacom MD and CEO Jagdish Kumar G. Pillai.

The MSOs are struggling to meet the deadline. “Our national average for CAF is around 65 per cent. While in a few areas we have achieved 90 per cent CAF, there are also areas like Hyderabad where we have still not collected any CAF,” informs Pillai, who thinks that the collection can improve only if the Information & Broadcast Ministry announces Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) as DAS area.

In the meeting held on 29 November, it was revealed that Gujarat Telelink Pvt Ltd (GTPL) is lagging behind in areas like Vizag and Solapur, Hathway is far behind in Vizag and Hyderabad and Den Networks had a low CAF collection in Uttar Pradesh. “We have achieved 80 per cent CAF in Gujarat, while catching up in other areas,” informs GTPL COO Shaji Mathews.

Though in the last meeting, we had asked for a one month extension to complete CAF, the regulator had given clear directions to complete CAFs in the specified period of 15 days, says Jagdish Kumar Pillai

The court cases related to the digitisation process that were on till quite some time in states like Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat have acted as a hindrance to smooth CAF collection, think the MSOs. “Digitisation in Vizag began only in September, so it will take more time for the MSOs to submit 100 per cent CAF there. Also, we are facing issues in Gujarat,” adds Mathews.

The Gujarat Cable Operators Association has moved to the Gujarat High Court against TRAI and the case is pending in the court. “We will have to see if the TRAI gives us reprieve for customers who fall under these cable operators. If it doesn’t, then we may have to switch off signals, which will then be against court order. The situation is tricky in Gujarat and we are waiting for what the regulator has to say in the meeting,” says Mathews.

We will have to wait and watch if TRAI comes up with another extension or penal action for non-compliance! MSOs await the meeting.

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