The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pay more or miss, the option for TV viewers

Will Calcutta cable homes have to sacrifice some of their favourite fare on STAR or Zee-Turner to keep catching live on Sony the exploits of Sachin and Co. in the Super Six' Or will they have to cough up more to ensure they don’t miss any of the nail-biting Cup action'

With cash flow from adamant operators barely more than a trickle and broadcasters, stretched way beyond stress limits, turning up the heat everyday, the cable crisis in the city has reached near-flashpoint, even as the government makes it clear that a switch-off during India’s World Cup conquest “must be avoided”.

The frantic search for a commercially-acceptable solution is on, and another round of deliberations between RPG Netcom and the Cable Operators Sangram Committee, claiming a 40 per cent representation, ended “inconclusively” on Thursday.

“The outstandings to broadcasters in end-February stood at nearly Rs 11 crore, and clearly, something has to be done soon to keep the signals on,” said Netcom CEO Ashim Dutta.

The twin-layers of service providers have two options before them to tide over the crisis — hike monthly subscription rates or push “an expendable bouquet” out of beam to keep the others on.

“In principle, we don’t support a switch-off, but it’s not commercially viable to keep a channel on indefinitely if the consumer is not willing to pay,” a Netcom official observed, adding that mass-scale disconnection of defaulters could start soon. A consensus on the next twist in the cable tale is expected to emerge before India’s final Super Six match.

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