The LCOs in Delhi are a worried lot, given the uncertainty over meeting the digitisation deadline set by the Government. In a bid to highlight their plight and to protest I&B Ministry’s diktat for mandatory digitisation, the last mile operators in Delhi organised a rally from Jantar Mantar to Shastri Bhawan on June 15, 2012.
The LCOs are also seeking police protection post the June 30 deadline, fearing public ire over the blackout of cable TV broadcast in the switchover to digital mode.
The LCOs handed over a memorandum to Ambika Soni, Minister for Information and Broadcasting. The letter consists of their demands for a fair share in the cable TV revenue and extension of deadline for switching off analog as there aren’t adequate numbers of set top boxes (STBs) to seed in subscriber homes. Many areas of Delhi do not even have digital signal from any MSO, allege the LCOs.
Speaking to exchange4media, AS Kohli, President, West Delhi United Forum (COFI) said, “Our main fight is with the Government and the major cause is revenue sharing. Earlier, it was Rs 82 when only 30 channels were available. But now, this has been reduced to Rs 45 for 100 channels; this is totally unacceptable.”
He further said, “We had met Ambika Soni 15 days back and had given her a letter highlighting our issues, but we haven’t got any feedback. This has led us to organise this rally. We will wait for a few more days and if we still don’t get any response then we will gather in front of Ambika Soni’s house.”
LCOs have also complained that none of the MSOs have declared the pay channel rates or the packages and still the Government wants them to force subscribers to buy STBs. Consumers do not know what they will get in the digital regime and at what price. It has become difficult for the LCOs to reply to the inquiries from consumers as none of the MSO call centres are operational and customers are contacting only the LCOs. The LCOs allege that the regulations have reduced their status from last mile owners to collection agents, courtesy TRAI regulations.