Cable TV

A bumpy ride for gross billing in Kolkata

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KOLKATA: It’s been five months, since multi system operators (MSOs) started gross (consumer) billing. However, according to cable industry sources, consumers in certain pockets of the Kolkata Municipal Area (KMA) are unwilling to accept bills or pay the billed amounts.

On the other hand, there are three to four MSOs that have not yet handed over bills to the local cable operators (LCOs), and are instead uploading them to their servers and asking LCOs to take print outs thereof and give it to customers, sources inform.

MSOs are meeting regularly to discuss smooth rollout of gross billing in KMA, given that both West Bengal and central government authorities have asked them to expedite the billing process. “Since the billing process hasn’t kicked off in the way it should have, we are meeting on a regular basis to discuss issues like billing, collection and disputes among operators among others,” said a MSO on condition of anonymity.

Another source argued that MSOs that have not yet started the package could not have started the billing process either, so how can their gross billing be acceptable?

A GTPL-KCBPL official said that the company was facing collection issues in localities such as Sobha Bazaar among others in the KMA. “The problems include billing, area disputes etc,” informed another MSO.

“MSOs are billing the full amount of the package but actually, they are getting a much lesser amount in hand. This problem needs to be solved first,” said yet another MSO on condition of anonymity.

A city-based cable analyst meanwhile said, “Billing is a mess as LCOs are not willing to collect the billed amount and consumers are not willing to pay.”

Kolkata has nearly 30 lakh cable homes where till mid-January, MSOs were issuing ad hoc bills.

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