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Blackout threat scare before New Year

New Year could mean television blackout for several residents who have not yet filled the mandatory consumer application forms for their set-top box connections.

The deadline set by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) for consumers in Phase II cities, including Patna, to submit their application forms ended on Monday. Cable operators have started to switch off connections to those consumers who have not done so.

Patna has two multi-system operators (MSOs), SITI Maurya Cablenet Pvt. Ltd and Darsh Digital Network Pvt. Ltd. The operators have claimed they would switch off connections by New Year’s Eve.

Rajnish Dixit, the director of SITI Maurya Cablenet Pvt. Ltd, said: “According to a directive issued by Trai on December 18, the MSOs were asked to ensure that 90 per cent of their subscribers filled the application forms by December 23 and the remaining 10 per cent by December 31. At least 1 lakh subscribers, out of our total consumer base of 1.55 lakh, have filled the application forms but the rest continue to give a cold-shoulder to the process in spite of advertisements. We are now forced to stop transmitting signals to their set-top boxes.”

Darsh Digital Network Pvt. Ltd director Sushil Kumar said: “Around 80 per cent of our subscribers have filled the forms. We have started disconnecting connections for the rest.”

According to the Digital Addressable Cable Television Systems Regulations, 2012, MSOs can transmit digital signals and activate set-top boxes only after receiving the consumer application forms. It empowers them to stop beaming signals to those set-top boxes for which forms have not been submitted.

Dixit said: “It is necessary for us to get the forms, as it would enable us to know the exact number of subscribers and their preferences. The set-top boxes were installed in bulk every day between March and May but a proper record was not maintained.”

Mandatory

Cable TV subscribers to fill application forms with personal details and channels they want to watch or packs they want to avail

Deadline

December 23 for Phase II cities for digital addressable cable TV systems, including Patna, Agra, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Pune and Ranchi