Blackout or not? Confusions galore

Confusion reigned as the deadline for cable TV digitisation ended today, with cable operators claiming helplessness and saying they should not be held responsible if there is a cable blackout from midnight.

"Some of the Multi System Operators (MSOs) are claiming that 80 per cent of the consumers have received set-top boxes, which is not true. There are over 42 lakh consumers in Kolkata, of whom less than 16 lakh have got set top boxes," said Mrinal Chatterjee, joint convenor of Cable Operators' Digitization Committee.

"We never had any say from the beginning. There were not enough set-top boxes for consumers. Tomorrow, if the 26 lakh-odd customers ask why they are not getting signals, we should not be held responsible," he said.

Chatterjee added that this was a move to boost the sale of 11 lakh DTH boxes which had entered the market. Asked about under-declaration, he admitted that cable operators had always under-declared the number of customers, but consumers themselves were the ultimate gainers in the process. "Otherwise each of the customers would have ended up paying over Rs 800," he said.

It was also pointed out that some of the cable operators in city outskirts ad customers in Kolkata and also beyond city limits. "In that case, if the signals are switched off, along with Kolkata consumers, those outside the city would unnecessarily suffer," a cable operator said.

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