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Kolkata MSOs to blackout TV tonight

KOLKATA: Looks like cable TV consumers in Howrah will have to sacrifice on their favourite shows with few multiple system operators (MSOs) deciding to switch off signals if they do not receive duly filled customer application forms (CAFs) till end of the day today. The decision comes in view of the deadline set by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for submission of CAFs by 15 November.

Around 40 per cent cable TV viewers in the city are subscribed to SitiCable. The MSO has not requested the regulator for any extension for CAF submission. SitiCable Kolkata director Suresh Sethia says, “We have already collected 90 per cent of CAFS. We expect the rest to be submitted today, if not, we will switch off signals from tonight.”

Resonating the same is Manthan, which has installed 20-25 per cent STBs of the total five lakh STBs installed in the region.  “While a few have submitted CAFs, others will send it soon,” informs Manthan director Sudip Ghosh.

The announcement is a shocker for many, as confusion over the city being a part of DAS phase II still remains. It is learnt that MSOs like KCBPL-GTPL among others are running analogue signals in DAS II areas.

Industry insiders blame lack of an organisation for irregularities. “There is no such designated organisation that can regulate the system here,” says a source.

The cause of ineffectiveness could also be because a few local cable operators (LCOs) have assured customers that they do not fall under DAS phase II and thus customers have not invested in the set top boxes (STBs).

Talking about the prevailing confusion over DAS in Howrah, Sethia says, “Though most areas were covered during phase I, TRAI has to define whether the border of Howrah falls under phase II or not? There needs to be a clarification.”

The city faces another issue. If Cable Operators Sangram Committee general secretary Apurba Bhattacharya is to be believed, subscribers who have submitted the duly filled CAFs are yet to see the change on their TV screens. “Even after filling the CAF and opting for preferred bouquet of channels, nothing has changed for viewers in Howrah,” he informs.

Bhattacharya however believes that the MSOs will not switch off signals. “I foresee an extension in the cutoff date,” he says.

Earlier a few LCOs had blamed festivities for slow down of work. “Since festivities are over now, both customers and LCOs should take the initiative and submit their details to MSOs,” opine city-based analysts.

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