Government of West Bengal has requested the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to extend the deadline for submitting cable TV subscribers’ database in Kolkata.
Despite a TRAI deadline to implement subscriber management system across 28 lakh cable TV households in the city by August 23, cable operators in the city are saying it is almost “impossible” to meet this target. According to them hardly 35-40% CAF forms have been fed into the SMS system.
In Kolkatta the West Bengal Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim has appealed to TRAI to extend the deadline for customer application forms (CAFs) submission. So far only 30-35 per cent of cable consumers in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area have completed the form.
The request has come after TRAI confirmed last week that it will strictly adhere to the 23 August cut-off-date. “If subscriber details including channel preference is not done within this deadline, the operator’s connection is liable to be disconnected,” informed TRAI member R K Arnold.
According to Swapan Chowdhury, General Secretary, Cable and Broadband Operators Welfare Association, of the five major multi-service operators in Kolkata, hardly 12 lakh to 14 lakh households can be brought under the subscriber management system, thereby updating their channel choices and personal data with TRAI by 23 August.”
Cable operators cannot ensure 100 per cent digitisation as per TRAI deadline. There are delays due more than one reason,” Chowdhury said. In Kolkata, he added, installation of set-top boxes was completed almost three to four months behind the schedule set by TRAI and the same phenomenon may be repeated in this case.
Local cable operators are a worried lot because of their consumer do not fill up the form they lose their customers if connections are cut off. If TRAI forces MSOs to disconnect signals from August 23 midnight it may lead to law and order problems as more than 50 per cent consumer will not be covered under the system by 23 August.
Market sources also confirmed that only Manthan and Hathway are confident of meeting the deadline.