MUMBAI: Direct to home (DTH) operators are already facing annoyed users because of signals being disconnected due to rains. Now, they have a fresh problem to tackle, that of jammers being used in the city of Mumbai to distort DTH signals.
Bringing the issue to light, the DTH Operators Association of India president and Tata Sky CEO Harit Nagpal has written letters to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Sanchar Bhavan, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Department of Telecommunications, the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Mumbai Police commissioner.
The letter states that ‘these jammers are being used by anti social elements to disrupt DTH signals and are also a threat to national security as the same are capable of being used to interfere with other signals besides DTH.’
The letter also states that several incidences of signal losses were found during the FIFA World Cup matches in areas such as Versova, Yari Road and Lokhandwala. The jammers were disturbing the signals of all DTH ops including Freedish. Five specific dates have been tracked which were key FIFA match dates- 4 July, 10 July, 11 July, 12 July and 13 July.
While locating the area of mischief, the technical team came across destroyed DTH antennas. During the service visits, interference was found in the lower Ku band between 10.7 GHz and 11.7 GHz.
Similar cases have happened in Noida in 2011 and in Mumbai in 2008 and 2012. While the culprits were put behind bars in Noida, the signal disruption stopped in Mumbai after a written complaint was sent to the police.
DTH ops feel it could be cable ops that are hampering their service. “Government has made it a fair playing field for MSOs and DTH with digitisation and this has put pressure on some operators to provide quality in their offering such as HD channels, interactive service etc. Just because someone can’t cope with DTH’s offering they shouldn’t get into such low acts,” said a senior executive of a leading DTH brand.
Nagpal states that Tata Sky has received several complaints from consumers about poor picture quality and freezing of pictures on screen and so it has tracked certain key locations.
The letter states that according to section 20, 21 and 25A of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and section 3 of Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933, possession and use of unauthorised equipment and interference with transmission of authorised signals is illegal.
It ends by stating that the real loser is the DTH operator since there is no continual preventive measure to keep jammers away. ‘Due to such illegal activity the subscribers think that the signal interference is caused by the DTH service providers and they lose goodwill and credibility resulting in loss of subscriber base,’ states the letter.