January 31 was the deadline set for Bangalore, Mysore
Cable TV operators on Friday inundated the offices of multi-system operators (MSO) with bulk submissions of Consumer Application Forms (CAF) used as proof that the switch from analog to digital signals have been made.
Sources in the multi-system operators offices said that though a bulk of submissions came in only late on Friday evening, they are unlikely to cut off signals without doing a last round of compilations and entering the CAFs to the ‘subscriber management system’ database.
When contacted, a senior official from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said that there were no plans to extend the deadline of January 31 fixed for cable digitisation in Bangalore and Mysore. However, the official said that the multi-system operators would desist from cutting signals, and even if they do it it would be restored as soon as the entries are made.
“The multi-system operators have informed us that bulk submissions were made on the last day. Local cable operators had been holding back on submitting forms due to some misunderstanding,” he said.
The official said TRAI is optimistic of meeting full digitisation this time.
While the government had declared in May 2013, a month after the 38-city deadline (including Bangalore and Mysore) had lapsed, that digitisation level in Bangalore stands at 106 per cent, TRAI claims that as per its records it is still in the 80 per cent range. This is primarily due to the fact that cable TV operators have not submitted the CAFs to the multi-system operators.
According to cable TV operators, if the deadline of January 31 for cable digitisation is not extended, three lakh TV sets will go blank on Saturday morning.
Patrick Raju of the Karnataka Cable TV Operators’ Association said that operators were trying to speed up the process, but attributes the delay to unresolved issues with TRAI’s “one-sided conditions favouring MSOs and broadcasters”.
He explained that cable operators were not happy with the set of rules and regulations printed at the back of the CAF. Due to these unresolved issues, primarily revolving around revenue sharing and ownership of the set-top boxes, operators had been reluctant to complete the procedure.
In Bangalore, several mid-size MSOs had already declared that 100 per cent of the connections under them were under the conditional access system. In Mysore, over 98 per cent CAFs have been uploaded into the system.