TV sets to face blackout as cable operators dissent

Cable TV operators here on Friday said they will observe a 48-hour blackout to protest the March 31 digitisation deadline and an “unfair” revenue-sharing model under the digital addressable system.

The blackout will last till March 31. The operators are demanding extension of the deadline, a higher revenue share and lower tariffs for consumers.

“We are not against digitisation. Our protest is against the package being offered by the multi-system operator (MSO),” said Ashok Pandit, president of Trans Yamuna cable TV operators association.

“They are offering us just a 33 percent share, which is unfair and unacceptable.”
Pandit, said local cable operators were not taken into confidence when the decision to go digital was taken.

“The MSOs took few hand-picked local operators to the government to claim they had taken all of us into confidence,” he said.

He added that consumers who were paying just Rs 100 to Rs 150 under the analogue system will now have to pay three or four times more in addition to buying a digital set-top box.

Sanjay Sahni, a cable operator from west Delhi’s Rajouri Garden said, “The decision has been imposed on us. The aim of these companies is to monopolise the cable industry.”
“We did all the ground work in the 1980s and 1990s when these companies were not interested in this sector. Now that we made it a multi-crore industry, these companies are taking the major revenue share,” he said.

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