MSOs say that cable TV customer response positive for CAFs

MUMBAI: Tomorrow is an important day for TRAI chief Rahul Khullar. Reason: the deadline for cable TV subscribers to send in their customer application forms (CFAs) ends then. And like in the past, it is quite likely that he will summon the heads of the major cable TV MSOs to his office and ask them for their latest update on the situation.

But before that many a cable TV subscriber who has been lax about submitting his CAF to the LCO or the MSO will find his or her analogue connection cut off. Because under cable TV DAS regulations that is the only way TV distribution will function in phase I metros (read Delhi and Mumbai), going forward.

Delhi, especially has been a worry for those in the digitisation value chain as LCOs and customers there (less than 50 per cent had sent in their CAFs as recently as two weeks ago) were taking the requests for CAFs lightly.

TRAI then cracked the whip on MSOs hoping to speed up customer response. Broadcasters – even GECs – were roped in to carry interesting promotional ads informing customers about the imperative for submitting CAFs. In fact, even as recently as four days ago, TRAI warned customers that there would be no change of date, so their CAFs would have to come in. spoke to some MSO heads to get its own update on how things have been progressing on this front. And most said things were looking up.

Says DEN Networks COO MG Azhar: "The process has been positive as we have already collected 75 per cent of applications." Azhar supports the move by TRAI to disconnect customers. "At some point, pressure is good," he points out. "We are positive that once we undertake all the activities including disconnection of non-complying customers, we will receive 100 per cent applications within a week."

Hathway Cable MD & CEO Jagdish Kumar G. PiIlai reveals that the company has received around 80-90 per cent CAFs for subscribers in Mumbai and Delhi. "Tomorrow we have a meeting with TRAI and let’s see how it goes. We are really happy that the response from both LCOs and consumers has been so positive. We hope that by 1 July. we can bring in retail billing."

Says InCablenet CEO Nagesh Chhabria: "The collections are still under process, we have managed to collect around 80 per cent in Mumbai and just about 65-70 per cent in Delhi." Naresh did add that the connections of the non-complying customers will be cut from tomorrow. "The ads currently running across TV sets is spreading awareness about the CAFs and we are confident that the customers will soon comply with the submissions of the forms."

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