Cable TV

Cable rates in Delhi likely to rise

NEW DELHI: The rates of cable subscription in non-CAS zones in Delhi are likely to go up by about Rs 90 from 1 January, 2004.

Owing to the increased subscription rate, the broadcasters will end up charging the cable operators, sources speculate.

According to Hathway Datacom, north India president-operations SN Sharma, "Indications are that most broadcasters would announce a price hike which will have to be passed on to the consumers in the non-CAS zone."

As of now, the Zee Turner bouquet as well as One Alliance rates are likely to be Rs 65. As for Star India, they have anyway announced that the cable ops have to increase the subscription base to avail of the Rs 27 offer.

CAS saga continues

Meanwhile, a senior BJP leader and Member of Parliament (MP) from South Delhi Vijay Kumar Malhotra today appealed to Information and Broadcasting (I&B) minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to postpone the implementation of CAS in the Capital by a year. Malhotra coerced Prasad to "reconsider" the whole issue and make it consumer friendly.

In a letter sent to Prasad, the MP pointed out that the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, was passed by the Parliament unanimously to give protection to the consumer from exploitation by service providers. ''But it has resulted in just the opposite. It has become hostile to the consumer,'' Malhotra wrote. He said service providers were exploiting the situation and forcing the consumers to buy set-top boxes (STBs) under the threat of not showing pay channels even as the price, quality, rent, security, refund of security and the rates of different channels were yet to be finalised.

Referring to the Delhi High Court directive that it would monitor the implementation of CAS - fixing the next hearing in the case in April - Malhotra said what would happen to those who bought the STBs during this period was not clear.

Meanwhile, Prasad in Lucknow said, the government would review its policy on CAS if the consumer faced any difficulties - a fact that he has already mentioned during a debate in Parliament during the just-concluded session, an agency report stated.

Prasad told reporters that he had held talks with Delhi chief minister, Sheila Dixit on introducingc in Delhi.

The minister said there can be some difficulties in the initial stages of introducing CAS but added that if it can be a success in Chennai why can't it be one in New Delhi?

Answering a question, the minister said that the government had left it to the channels to decide their rates and opined that market forces would keep these within controllable limits.

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