Compliance rate as low as 20%, says TRAI

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has decided to come down heavily on multi-system operators (MSOs) and local cable operators of Kolkata for failure to provide subscriber details.

TRAI has yet to decide on the deadline to be provided to MSOs in the city for furnishing these details.

Apart from disconnecting cable TV transmission, TRAI can also file cases of “criminal prosecution” against both MSOs and local cable operators. In Delhi, cases have been filed against one MSO and 14 local cable operators for “non-compliance”, TRAI officials said.

According to N. Parameswaran, Principal Advisor, TRAI, MSOs under existing laws, need to provide not only the details of set-top boxes (STB) sold, but also the channel preferences of subscribers and the rates charged. Subscribers can choose between bouquet offerings of the MSO or a-la-carte list.

“In Kolkata, the compliance rate of the MSOs is as low as 20 per cent. In Delhi, 97 per cent of subscriber details are available with us. While in Chennai and Mumbai, the compliance rate is nearly 80 per cent,” Parameswaran said.

Meeting

TRAI had on Thursday called a meeting of all the 14 MSOs in the city to take stock of the subscriber-base details and inquire as to why compliance levels (in terms of mandatory reporting on subscriber details) were low.

The first phase of digitisation — or installation of set-top boxes to ensure cable TV coverage — in the country covered the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. Digitisation in these four cities was completed earlier this year.

According to TRAI, there are over 28 lakh (2.8 million) cable TV viewers (as per the number of set top boxes sold) in Kolkata metropolitan area. They are serviced by nearly 5,000 local cable operators and 14 MSOs.

Deadline Soon

Meanwhile, Parameswaran pointed out that TRAI was yet to decide on a deadline within which it would ask cable operators in Kolkata to furnish subscriber details. The new deadline for compliance would be announced “soon”.

Nationally, a deadline of July 10 had been provided across operators to submit subscriber details. It was later, extended till July 20.

“We have spoken with the MSOs. They will get back to us with the problems they are facing and then we will decide on a deadline. We will announce the deadline soon,” he added.

Currently, market sources said, a tug-of-war between the MSOs and local cable operators over channel prices and bouquet offerings have delayed the process of furnishing subscriber details.

abhishek.l@thehindu.co.in

ayan.pramanik@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on July 18, 2013)
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