LMOs (last mile operators) or LCOs are unhappy with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) ruling on consumer application forms (CAF) and billing, which according to them, makes multi system operators (MSOs) the owners of consumers.
Last week, Cable Operators Federation of India (COFI) along with many state Cable TV Operator Associations and independent MSOs met the Parliamentary Committee on Information and Technology in New Delhi to put forth their views on the subject.
According to sources they have raised many issue holding up the DAS implementation and suggested some solutions too.
The latest, sources reveal, is that around 100 Kolkata-based LCOs - some affiliated with Siticable, others with Manthan - have come together and invested between Rs 2 and Rs 3 crore toward setting up a headend and accompanying infrastructure at Salt Lake College More in the city.
This group is believed to be in the process of setting up a cooperative venture and is eager to start its own services. With the LCOs’ rising concern over MSOs becoming the owners of their hard-won subscribers, the development does not come as a surprise to the industry.
Swapan Chowdhury, convener of the Kolkata Cable Operators Digitalisation Committee of the Association of Cable Operators who also was present before the Lok Sabha Committee on IT last week confirmed that this new cooperative had indeed been formed and that the LCOs might name the service Bengal Brand. "It is a difficult time for LCOs in Kolkata as the MSOs are not allowing them to go ahead with their plans," he said.
By making a co-operative venture Cable Operators are trying to take advantage of economy of scale. Headend costs have come down drastically and investing is not a problem in a group.
This trend is catching on in many parts of the country including Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai where Cable Operators are finding it a better way to run their business complying with DAS regulations and making adequate profits.