Cable TV

Udaya - Karnataka cable fraternity tussle continues

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BANGALORE: Claims and counter claims continue to overcast the Karnataka airwaves over the issue of Udaya network making Udaya TV, Udaya News and Ushe TV pay channels.



While Udaya claims that all the three channels are on throughout Karnataka, the Karnataka State Cable TV Operators Association (KSCOA) says around 60 per cent of the State has blocked Udaya.



Talks between Udaya network and Karnataka cable operators on 9 August had failed as the Karnataka State Cable TV Operators Association's proposal to Udaya to keep Udaya News and Ushe TV as pay channels and Udaya TV a free-to-air channel was turned down.



Udaya TV vice-president Vijay Kumar claims that the cable operators have been informed about the network's plans to go pay about one and half years ago. But KSCOA spokesperson Ponnacha argues that the promise was to keep Udaya TV free-to-air channel while making the other two - Ushe TV and Udaya News - pay.



Ponnacha reminds that there has been a freeze on the cable subscription fees since December 2003, by a TRAI notification. According to him, Udaya had no reply to this issue during the failed talks between cable TV operators.



On the Udaya ban issue, Kumar affirms, "We are on throughout Karnataka - every district is receiving our signal and few regions are not receiving Udaya mainly, because, our decoder boxes have not reached them. Some cable operators in a few areas only are not covering Udaya." Kumar claimed that some of these cable operators had been facing strong opposition from subscribers on the issue.



The director of a Multi System Operator (MSO) in East Karnataka revealed he had restarted Udaya to avoid subscribers' ire, "However if blanking out Udaya is done throughout Karnataka, we will definitely co-operate with the Association," he added.



Asks another cable operator, "The association called us to Bangalore, requesting us to blank out Udaya. But when no MSO has stopped the signal in Bangalore, why then block Udaya outside Bangalore?" He added that he'd cooperate if the decision to ban Udaya was implemented by all the operators.

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