After a gap of five months, pay channels may soon light up small screens in Chennai homes again as the multi system operators (MSOs) and cable TV distributors are close to strike a deal with the satellite TV broadcasters, to renew the beaming of pay channels. However, the resumption of the service may see the monthly cable bill shoot up by Rs 100 or Rs 150 per month. But the operators are still not sure what to do with those subscribers who bought the ’set top box’ (STB) to view pay channels.
Industry sources told eFE that with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) scrapping CAS for now, steps are being taken to restore telecast of pay channels in Chennai. “Several rounds of discussion are taking place among various stake holders concerned. A final decision could be reached at any time,” sources said. Trai in its latest order on CAS has directed the restoration of all channels with immediate effect to all subscribers.
However, once they are restored, subscribers may have to pay higher rentals than they are paying now for free-to-air channels. “Rentals may go up by Rs 100 to Rs 150 per subscriber. Subscribers will have to pay monthly fees on par with what they were paying before the implementation of CAS,” sources said. Currently, a cable subscriber is paying Rs 100 to Rs 125, depending on the area, as monthly subscription fee. This is likely to go up to Rs 200 or Rs 250 per month.
However, there is a lot of confusion as Trai directive did not clarify the time frame for restoring pay channels.