Cable TV

MCOF seeks government relief for last-mile cable operators

IBF also wrote a letter seeking an economic relief and rehabilitation package

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MUMBAI: In the wake of the Covid2019 crisis, Maharashtra Cable Operators Foundation (MCOF) has written a letter to the union minister of information and broadcasting Prakash Javadekar submitting its propositions for long-term relief and transformation of the last-mile cable operators. 

“Like all other businesses, we too are impacted adversely due to lockdown and economic slowdown. In fact, the impact on us is more severe, since our services including broadband have been classified, and as essential services have to be kept operational. Though we are sure that everyone knows the costs and risks of this, the financial squeeze out of failure to collect our legitimate dues may not be known to many,” MCOF president Arvind Prabhoo stated. 

He also mentioned that they anticipate a cutting down of spend on both services for a couple of forthcoming quarters and a need to restructure the business that involves two sets of much stronger players: broadcasters and MSOs. 

Here are the excerpts from the charter: 

·  The basic service tier of 200 channels priced at Rs 130 has been requested to be exempted from GST

·  LCOs  to be registered with the MIB and accorded recognition as a class distinct from MSO with role-specific duties and rights

·  LCOs be treated at par with telcos and allocated part of USOF grants for their Internet-related projects

·  The fibre networks belonging to LCOS be evaluated and accorded HCPA (Horizontal Connectivity Provider Agency) status for e-governance and telecom expansion purposes.

·  Future-oriented training modules be designed and imparted to cable network executives under the National Skilling Mission.  

MCOF’s letter to IBF

Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) also recently wrote a letter to the Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar seeking an economic relief and rehabilitation package. While IBF has made 18 requests, Maharashtra Cable Operators Foundation (MCOF) also sought specific benefits for the last-mile operators.

“It is very unfortunate that the media business has grown without interactions, leaving aside integration across the value chain. Current business and resource emergencies provide all of us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rectify all past mistakes and redraw roadmaps for mutual benefits. It is with these views and a sincere desire to ensure not only survival but also growth for all that we are writing this letter to you,” Prabhoo stated. 

He added that they believe with in view of the power of the media, there is a considerable possibility of most of the 18 point charter of propositions being accepted.

“We write as the players from the most critical last-mile deliveries which are no less important than the content itself. We do hope that IBF has not taken “I, me, and myself” approach but has considered needs of the entire value chain,”

He added that they are sure that they too are suffering no less than broadcasters and also rendering services at high costs and risks. Hence, the association has asked to know specific benefits that they may expect to trickle down to them and enable them to keep the services flowing. 

“We need not impress upon you the fact that without roots no tree can survive and all benefits you may extract would become infructuous if the 60 per cent+ market serviced by LCOS disappears. We have held back submitting our requests cum demands to minimise conflicts and cut short response time for the authorities,” the letter added.

However, the association is yet to hear from the MIB or IBF. 

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