Last mile operators of Delhi today organised a rally from Jantar Mantar to Shastri Bhawan to protest against the TRAI regulations and I&B Ministry's diktat for a mandatory digitization, ignoring the concens of thousands of small Cable operators.
LCOs of West Delhi and from other parts of Delhi marched to Shastri Bhawan to hand over memorandum to Ms. Ambika Soni, Minister for Information and Broadcasting listing out their demands of a fair share in the Cable TV revenue and extension of deadlines for switching off analog as there are no adequate STBs to seed in subscriber homes. Many areas of Delhi do not even have digital signal from any MSO, allege the LCOs.
In a letter to Ambika Soni, Minister, Information & Broadcasting, LCOs drew her attention on various key issues. They stated that not even 20% market in Delhi has been covered till date as MSOs are neglecting their demands of STBs. The STBs coming from China doesn’t meet the demands of Video on Demand Service, HDTV and interactive content as projected by the govt. prior to the announcement of the digitization drive. Moreover, there is no charge fixed by TRAI on these STBs and MSOs keep on changing their schemes which might not entertain the consumers in the longer run.
LCOs have also complained that none of the MSOs have declared the pay channel rates or packages and still the government wants them to force subscribers to buy STBs. Consumers do not know what they will get in the digital regime and at what price. It has become difficult for the LCOs to answer inquiries from consumers. None of the MSO call centers are operational and customers are contacting only the LCOs, where as the regulations have reduced their status from the last mile owners to collection agents, courtesy TRAI Regulations. LCOs say that they were getting at least Rs 82 per customer in CAS areas which has been reduced to just Rs 45 or less in DAS areas. Their livelihood has been endangered by DAS regulations.
If consumers protest after 30 June 2012, once the blackout takes places, LCOs will be the first one to face their wrath so, they have demanded police protection from Delhi government after 1st July 2012.