Over 9 million subscribers of digital cable services may not be able to watch TV from today (June 26) for failing to submit the mandatory consumer application form (CAF) ordered by the sector regulator. The deadline for submission of forms ends on Tuesday. You must seen adds regarding this on TV.
As per the regulations, digital cable consumers need to submit CAF, specifying their choice of channels/services/packages to their respective multi-service operators (MSO) or local cable operators (LCO). MSOs and LCOs have not been able to get their customers to submit the forms in the short time that has been alloted for the process. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said the full benefit of digitisation cannot be extended to all the stakeholders, including subscribers till CAF are submitted.
Sources within the cable operator federation of India (COFI) and the MSO Alliance have indicated to Financial Express that only 40-50% subscriber forms were filled and submitted till Sunday and an additional three to six months of time might be required for the exercise to be complete. The disconnected cable services to be resumed only after the subscribers have submitted the forms.
Previously, TRAI had made it compulsory for digital cable consumers to get set-top-box in order to watch TV. Reportedly around 24 million cable homes across 42 towns, including the metros, were converted to digital connection. Coming back to consumer application forms, there is news that TRAI has already ruled against giving any further extension.
"Let the regulator order disconnection of digital connections and face the public anger. It is a slow process. It can not happen in a hurry. I hope the government extends the deadline else there can be a political fallout too, specially in Delhi which is going to polls," Roop Sharma, president, COFI said.