United Cable Operator’s Welfare Association (UCOWA), an organisation of 182 LCOs operating in Delhi, has filed a petition against the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) with the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) on June 11, 2012. The petition seeks clarity on tariff rates for LCOs post cable TV digitisation. TDSAT has issued a notice in this regard and the hearing is scheduled for June 25.
The UCOAW has claimed that all its subscribers have been using digital set top boxes. More than 70 channels are digital, while 30 channels are analogue. This organisation has been in operation since 2003 and claims to have more than 1.5 lakh subscribers.
Talking to exchange4media, Sukhvinder Pal Sehgal, President, UCOWA said, “Earlier, when we were operating in CAS (Conditional Access System) areas, we used to get Rs 82 as our sharing commission with the MSO. However, after the introduction of DAS, our commission will go down to Rs 45.”
He added, “We are demanding clarity on per channel rate as it is getting very tough to convince customers about the rate. This is the first thing that the subscribers ask.”
Sehgal also felt that DAS would be more costly as the per channel rate would be more in comparison to the Rs 6 charged per channel at present.
LCOs’ next step depends on the court proceedings of June 25. The LCO body is prepared to move to the Delhi High Court and even the Supreme Court if TDSAT fails to address their problems.
Meanwhile, the organisation has written a letter to the Sub Judicial Magistrate seeking police protection on July 1, as they apprehend public ire over the blackout of cable television once digitisation comes into play.