The bahu won’t fight the saas, or vice versa, at thousands of homes in Calcutta as a TV blackout from Saturday looks eminent.
Cable operators have failed to meet the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai) Friday midnight deadline for submitting the mandatory subscriber application forms to the MSOs. This means the telecom watchdog can raid any MSO, as it had said, and switch off signals to set-top boxes for which filled-in forms are still pending.
Trai officials said only about 50 per cent of the forms for the 30 lakh subscriber base in Calcutta have been submitted to the MSOs, which means 15 lakh set-top boxes could be deactivated from Saturday.
To add to the chaos, subscribers in several areas alleged that the operators have foisted an illegal “maintenance fee” of Rs 20 to Rs 30 on them for each connection along with the monthly rental for the channel packages.
“The cable guy had come asking for a maintenance fee of Rs 30 each for our two TVs. I declined and that is why I couldn’t submit the form on time,” said Sucharita Banerjee of Jodhpur Park.
The subscriber application form does not mention any such extra payment.
He told Banerjee the cable operators would need a maintenance fee to sustain them because the entire monthly rental would go to the MSO — in this case Siti Cable. He even offered a “50 per cent discount” when Banerjee refused to pay.
“It’s illegal... subscribers should flatly refuse to pay such extras. They can complain to the MSO or move the consumer court if such demands are made,” a Trai official said.
Manthan subscriber Krishanu Basu of Ramakrishna Park in Sodepur was asked to pay Rs 20 per connection. He too refused.
Directors of both Siti Cable and Manthan said subscribers should not entertain such demands “because MSOs share the revenue from monthly subscription with the operators”.