Andhra Pradesh

Operators hard-sell set-top boxes as deadline nears

Our cable operator has already stopped telecasting some of our favourite channels. We will surely buy STB before the deadline. But, this inconvenience is quite unnecessary, says K. Swarnalatha, a homemaker.

With the December 31 deadline for digitisation of the cable television networks fast approaching, local operators in the temple city are resorting to arm-twisting tactics to make the consumers purchase set-top boxes (STB).

Many consumers complain that cable TV operators are goading them to purchase the set-top boxes or face disconnection of services even before the deadline.

“Our cable operator has already stopped telecasting some of our favourite channels. We know that it has been made compulsory to install STBs and we will surely buy them before the deadline. But, this inconvenience is quite unnecessary,” says K. Swarnalatha, a homemaker who lives in an apartment on the Kapila Theertham road.

Besides this, customers are also expressing other apprehensions including the quality of the instrument the operators are pestering to purchase, lack of proper billing mechanism in the new system and handing over the device back to cable operators with depreciated price in case of shifting of house.

Customers should be paid 50 to 60 per cent of the original cost of the set top box i.e. Rs.1,500, they say.

However, an official working with a local Multiple System Operator (MSO), covering areas such as Tirupati, Renigunta, Srikalahasthi and Puttur, says that such intervention by cable operators is necessary to ensure that all consumers buy STBs before the deadline.

“Despite regular advertisements, customers shrug it off as they do not realise that the analogue services will be discontinued after the deadline. We have tried explaining the situation to them. But, many consumers still remain adamant,” he says.

Further, operators say that the recent flooding in the district put a spoke in the digitisation works which could resume after the water receded. They blame the officials for neglecting to complete the works assigned to them in the first two phases of the digitisation. “The left over works of the earlier phases are adding to the burden. Now, all are hale bent on complete the entire works during the third phase itself,” says a cable network operator.

Speaking to The Hindu , Chittoor Joint Collector Bharat Narayan Gupta maintains that they have already achieved 30 to 35 per cent of the target of installing STBs and asserts that the process will be hastened to make the entire cable TV network digital by the deadline.

He further says that there is no shortage of STBs in Chittoor district.

“Customers can obtain STBs from parallel operators in an area, in case the cable operators create an artificial scarcity of the equipment,” Mr. Gupta. Other issues pertaining to the digitisation including the ease in KYC(Know Your Customer) norms are being taken up with the authorities, he adds.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 3:39:28 PM |

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