Customers deprived of four Star Sports channels

An ongoing tussle between cable operators and a Multi System Operator (MSO) in the city has left several customers deprived of four Star Sports channels, which were removed from air since last month. To add insult to injury, it happened during last month’s T20 World Cup, which left many cricket fans fuming, and now has many soccer fans worried as they fear they may not be able to watch the World Cup.

Cable operators stated that they are being forced to give the MSO Customer Address Forms (CAF), which customers are not willing to fill-up. “Many people do not want to give CAF forms, as it will increase the price of the monthly rent and the number of channels will reduce,” claimed K. Prabhakar Reddy, president, Andhra Pradesh Cable Operators Association.

Mr. Reddy said that there are problems in the digitisation process, which can be addressed only after the general elections, as the Model Code of Conduct is in place. “We have been trying to solve the issue for the past one month, and after May 16 we will approach the Centre,” he said. When contacted, a senior official from Hathway, one of the MSOs in the city, said that CAF information was mandatory.

“We did not switch off the channels before hand. It was done with adequate notice and the same was also advertised in newspapers,” said the official. He explained that CAF was necessary as part of digitisation, so that MSOs can know what channels customers want, and that they may pay according to that.

“Also, we will have an idea of the number of cable connections in a locality. For example, in Padma Rao Nagar, there are about 2,500 connections, but we are paid only for about 100. Operators do not want to disclose that information as they will have to pay more,” he said. The official informed that the missing channels, Star Sports 1 to 4, can be availed after paying about Rs.60 to Hathway, which will be valid for three months. Those who wish to get back the sports channels can do so by logging onto www.hathway.com.

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