Television

Star threatens to black out Indian Cable Net in Kolkata

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MUMBAI: Star India has served a one-month notice to Indian Cable Net (formerly RPG Netcom) threatening to black out its channels on grounds of non payment of dues.

The amount Star is claiming as dues, according to market information, is Rs 30-40 million. Indian Cable Net, however, refutes such claims, saying it has not defaulted on its monthly payments.

Star India spokesperson confirmed that it had issued a switch-off notice against Indian Cable Net, Kolkata's largest multi system operator (MSO) which was acquired by Zee Telefilms' subsidiary Siticable from RPG Enterprises. He, however, refused to divulge the outstanding amount.

Broadcasters have to give a one-month notice period to cable networks before they can switch off signals, as per a regulation prescribed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).

Indian Cable Net claims Star has been forcing carriage of its second bouquet of channels comprising Star One, Hungama TV and the two Walt Disney channels. "Cable operators are not willing to pay for the second bouquet as they are unable to collect it from the consumers. As MSOs, we are only a pass-through agent. We can't be billed for the second bouquet," says a spokesperson for Indian Cable Net.

Star had got into a new settlement after Siticable acquired Indian Cable Net and its outstanding amount was cleared. "But they owe us money after that. They haven't even been paying for the seven per cent increase that Trai has allowed broadcasters to charge on cable operators," says the Star spokesperson.

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