Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Telangana Operators want Interoperable STBs

Greater Hyderabad & Ranga Reddy District Cable TV Operators Welfare Association met the I&B Minister, Sh Prakash Javadekar during his recent visit to the newly formed state and submitted a memorandum explaining their problems faced in implementing DAS
Operators expressed their feeling of distress in the memorandum seeking solutions from the Minister. Cable TV industry was created by enterpreunership skills of cable operators two decades back. They invested and reinvested their hard earned money in creating this industry and gave livelihood to thousands of people. However, now operators feel they are in an ICU needing immediate care and prescription in the form of amendments of existing rules and regulations. They have requested Minister’s intervention to amend the rules and regulations and protect the welfare of thousands of LCO's and lakhs of their employees. In 2009 when CAS system was introduced in the Metro Cities Regulations provided them with Rs. 82 (excluding taxes) and 5 years later they are being asked to take just 45% of Rs. 100 of BST as their revenue share in the DAS regime. This revenue share defies every logic. Opertors have demanded at least Rs. 100/- of BST to LCO's to protect their livelihood which is their fundamental right. When more than 90% of investment in the form of laying cable and installing ground network equipment is borne by the LCO's how this 45% revenue shared has been worked out by TRAI, they wonder.
They have requested to ensure that the STB's provided to them by MSOs are as per the specification of BIS and are inter-operable like mobile phones where it can be used in any MSO network.
There have been instances where the licences of MSO's have been cancelled and the LCO's are having very difficult times with their subscribers  needing replacement of STB's. The ownership of STB's bought by subscribers after paying the cost is not clear yet. MSOs are still claiming ownership of the STBs. Operators have also requested to treat Hyderabad of Telangana as Phase 3 for DAS implementation instead of phase 2 because as currently only 25% subscribers have DAS implemented and there are several cases pending in courts regarding DAS regulations.
It should be ensured that there is  no differential pricing  for the pay channels between national MSOs like DEN, Hathway, SITI Cable and Independent small MSOs.
The MSOs and their distributors  are harassing LCO's by using unethical ways . The MSOs have forced LCOs to sign DAS agrement without even giving time to go through and the copy of the signed agreement has never been handed over to LCOs.
Interconnect agreements between MSO's and LCO's need a thorough check as the present agreements are totally one sided, favouring  only the MSOs.
The intention to digitalise and create transparency is commendable  but the process called upon by rules and regulations is not justifid. Infact digitalization is being thrusted down the throats of LCOs and subscribers. They have asked government to create an organized cable TV ecosystem and make it mandatory for all MSOs to have a parallel analogue feed till new rules are not made.

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