MSOs report healthy collection of CAFs as deadline nears

MUMBAI: 10 July and all the heads of India’s cable TV MSOs are going to be at the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) office. Reason: that’s the deadline for them to give the TRAI an update about how far they have progressed with the consumer application forms (CAFs) in DAS areas.

The TRAI had over the past few months been egging on the national MSOs to ensure that they collect every bit of information about their subscribers so that they could move over to transparent subscription management systems and retail billing. But resistance from local cable TV operators and customers who had been lethargic on this front had made the regulator crack the whip. In early June this year, MSOs had been warned to collect CAFs from their customers by 25 June, but were given an extension till 10 July when they updated the regulator about the slow progress.

The biggest worry area was New Delhi where apparently the level of CAF collection was below 50 per cent.

When contacted some MSOs to get an update about the status of CAF collections today, they said that they had made some more progress.

“70 per cent in Mumbai,” says Hathway Cable CEO Jagdish Kumar. “75 per cent in Delhi. We have reached higher levels on our own network subscribers at about 90 per cent but we expect things to speed up at our joint ventures by end of this week.”

DEN CEO SN Sharma says that the network has managed to get to about 80-85 per cent in terms of CAF collections in Delhi. “Our focus is on Delhi as it was a major worry,” he says. “This will then be followed up by Mumbai and Kolkata. We are clear we will start switching off those who are still not submitting.”

InCable managing director Ravi Mansukhani says that almost all of the MSOs have got CAF collections between 70 and 90 per cent in the two cities.

Kumar says the collections should surge in the last two or three days as the deadline nears.

But a source reveals that while the deadline has been set for 10 July, it is quite likely that TRAI will give a final extension till 15 July before ordering the MSOs to switch off signals to errant customers.

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