KOLKATA: The Kolkata multi-system operators (MSOs) are likely to miss the 31 December deadline given by the Telecom Regulatory of India (TRAI) to start gross billing.
The cable TV sources in Kolkata feel that the MSOs will not be able to meet the deadline. “They are likely to start the gross billing for the month of December from 7 January,” say the sources.
It should be noted that the 31 December deadline was granted, as the MSOs missed the earlier 15 December deadline to start gross billing in phase I areas. Says Kolkata based cable TV analyst Mrinal Chatterjee, “Kolkata missed the deadline since neither the MSO nor the last mile owner (LMO) are prepared for the process.”
Kolkata has around 30 lakh cable television homes. “The MSOs updated the minister on the total process of digitisation and billing. As of now we have ad-hoc billing, but soon billing as per package will start. Though customers are happy, the operators do not want the billing to be in place,” opines Siticable Kolkata director Suresh Sethia.
Siticable has around 10-11 lakh STBs in Kolkata DAS I area.
Explaining the nitty-gritty’s of bill payment, a MSO says, “If a customer has chosen a package of Rs 180, he will have to pay Rs 180, plus Rs 10 (amusement tax) and12.36 per cent service tax.”
A LMO affiliated to Hathway Cable & Datacom informs that the MSO has sent the bills to him in a compact disk (CD) and expects him to take a print out and give it to customers.
The way things are progressing, it seems like another deadline is on its way to be missed.