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LCOs fire back at TRAI for 'conduits' remark before Bombay HC

TRAI has overlooked the role played by LCOs as last mile owners, the MCOF says.

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KOLKATA: Local Cable Operators (LCOs) appear to be agitated with industry regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for portraying them as ‘conduits’ between the multi-system operators (MSOs) and subscribers. According to sources, TRAI has overlooked the role played by LCOs as last mile owners in a reply to ongoing litigation against NTO 2.0 in the Bombay high court.

The Maharashtra Cable Operators Federation (MCOF) is of the view that it might lead to subscriber ownership transferred to the MSO. While the TRAI may indicate it is not concerned about LCO’s revenue, it also portrays LCOs as mere recharge operators in the mobile business.

“TRAI has worsened our situation by making assertive statements going against our interests,” the MCOF said in a memo.

In another statement, TRAI has conferred the credit for creating infrastructure to the MSOs. Despite putting lakhs of kilometres of a network together, the LCOs may stand to lose over Rs 1,00,000 crore worth of infrastructure due to the incorrect statement, the MCOF asserted.

According to the federation, TRAI has overlooked the imbalance where benefits flow to broadcasters and MSOs at the cost of LCOs regardless of whether the subscriber pays more or less than pre-NTO days under compulsion to justify its judgemental errors. The unsubstantiated justification for reducing NCF on additional STB completely discounts the fact that most of the STBs are serviced by the LCO who incurs per visit costs that are not billed for.

The federation has urged the operators to raise their voices and protest the statement to make TRAI file a revised affidavit before the high court.

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