Cable TV

Howrah’s DAS travails

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KOLKATA: To DAS or not to DAS? That is the question in West Bengal’s Howrah.

Howrah, which is among those regions that are under phase II of DAS, has seen the implementation of DAS in only around 40 per cent of the million or so cable TV connections that dot the district.



The remaining 60 per cent continues to be stuck watching analogue cable TV services. Subscribers have been loathe to pick up a set top box (STB) as local cable TV operators have clearly assured them that they fall under Howrah district and not Howrah city.



A Howrah resident Rohan Das when contacted says: “I don’t mind buying the set top box (STB) but my operator has informed that it is not necessary to buy now.”



Sources further add that not enough is being done to monitor or police how cable TV is making the transition to digital in Howrah. Cable Operators Digitisation Committee of the Association of Cable Operators convener Swapan Chowdhury confirmed that there is slackness in the DAS rollout.



Manthan director Sudip Ghosh pointed out that things are doing well in “Howrah city which has around five lakh cable TV connections; most of these have been digitized. More over the CAF collection has also been completed by many, while some are doing it now.”



Manthan has installed 20-25 per cent STBs in the region out of the four to five lakh STBs. Ghosh clarified that “Howrah district and Howrah city are different.”



SitiCable Kolkata director Suresh Sethia also confirmed that the company has completed the work as mandated by TRAI. He however added, “TRAI has to define whether the border of Howrah falls under phase II or not. The regulator has to clarify the DAS area.”



SitiCable controls a sizeable chunk of cable TV viewers in the region. It should be noted that broadcast regulator TRAI has extended the deadline for collection of Consumer Application Forms (CAF) in phase II cities including Howrah by MSOs to 15 November from its previous deadline of 30 September. MSOs operating in Howrah vicinity confirm that they will meet the deadline.



While cable TV analysts say that CAF forms have not been received by many cable subscribers due to festive holidays – firstly, Durga Puja, and now Kali Puja followed by Diwali. “LCOs and MSOs will be back to work only after these are over.” 

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