The day after: COUF team meets Khurana

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: A day after the Indian government decided to defer rollout of conditional access system (CAS) in Delhi, a delegation of Cable Operators United Front (COUF) went and met up with senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Madan Lal Khurana, generally being viewed by the industry as the villain of the piece.

"We assured Mr Khurana that the cable operators would not raise the monthly cable subscription fee and the consumers would continue to pay the same amount as they are paying now," COUF’s Tejender Chawla said after the meting today, confirming that the consumers would not be harassed.

Khurana, who is making a bid for the chief ministership of Delhi in the ensuing state elections later this year, has been one of the staunchest opponents of CAS rollout in Delhi. Surprisingly, he had found an ally in the Congress chief minister, Shiela Dikshit, on the issue of CAS.

The COUF delegation assured Khurana that a backlash from the cable community against the government decision is highly unlikely; and even if that happens, it would be limited to some independent cable ops who have their own agenda.

COUF is one of the cable organisations that has been maintaining that providing the basic tier of service for Rs 72 (excluding taxes) in a post-CAS regime would be economically untenable for cable operators. The organisation had been demanding that the price be fixed at Rs 180 per month.

Meanwhile, a meeting that was to be held by cable operators in Mumbai turned out to be a non-CAS event where some other issues were discussed.

Even in Delhi some of the MSOs and cable ops, who had threatened agitation today, decided to hold back and follow the wait-and-watch policy. A senior executive of an MSO said here, "We are waiting to see what is the reaction in Mumbai and Kolkata before we chart out a future course of action."

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