Cable TV

Cable ops stage demonstration against Rs 72 FTA price

NEW DELHI: Stepping up pressure on the government to review the free-to-air package rates fixed at Rs. 72, over 100 cable operators belonging to the Cable Operators United Front (COUF) on Wednesday staged a demonstration demanding that the maximum rate for the basic tier after conditional access system (CAS) is introduced be raised to at least Rs 180.

Accusing the government of trying to "mislead" people, COUF president Virendra Gaur said, "Under the existing package prescribed by the Government the last mile cable operators will not be able to operate and the industry would be finished."

"We have been providing services for Rs 100-150 for the last 13 years and the government is suddenly asking us to provide services for Rs 72. This package is not financially viable", he said in a statement.

Exhorting the government to take the cable operators into confidence, he alleged the package had been fixed without the opinion of all sections of the cable fraternity or taking others' viewpoints into consideration.

"The package was fixed to save the interests of multiple system operators (MSOs) and broadcasters," he said.

COUF, which claimed to have the support of 25,000 operators, said it had suspended cable services from 11.30 to 14.30 hrs in 99 per cent of the 40 lakh cable homes it reached in the four metros.

However, this claim is disputed by many, including those in Delhi who said the blackout was partial.

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