Hundreds of television sets of customers, who had not submitted the customer application forms (CAFs), remained blank as multi-system operators (MSOs) kept the programming off for the third consecutive day on Monday. Irate customers, some of whom claimed they had submitted the CAF, flooded cable TV operators’ offices but to no avail.
Several local cable operators (LCOs) told The Hindu that the cutting off of the signal had been arbitrary and had affected even those who had submitted the forms. However, MSOs maintained that they are yet to receive the forms and had no option but to cut off thousands of connections given that even the CAFs that were submitted came in late on Friday.
LCOs met with leading MSOs on Monday morning to stage a protest against the “arbitrary cutting off of connections”, which they termed as an attempt to “take over their bread and butter”.
Late in the evening on Monday, a few connections were restored. MSO representatives said this was being done in a methodical manner as and when they were processing the customer details into the “subscriber management system” database.
Cable TV operators complained that the smaller MSOs were allowing them more leeway, however, the bigger companies had just cut off the signal on Friday night.
‘LCO claims untrue’
A representative of Hathway Ltd., a leading MSO, said that the LCOs’ claim that all CAFs had been submitted is not true. According to them at least 15 per cent customer CAFs are yet to be reach them.
Hathway claims that it cannot afford not to abide by the TRAI guidelines because it is a listed company that is audited and needs to follow the rules.
Members of the Karnataka Cable TV Operators’ Association claim that over three lakh television sets in the State have gone blank, and that this number is greater than the number of customers whose forms have not been submitted.
According to Patrick Raju of the KCTOA, CAFs for over 96 per cent customers have been submitted. He disputes the MSOs figure. “It is difficult for us to explain to our customers why the programming is off despite them having followed the rules. MSOs do not realise that doing so is putting our business at risk,” said a Rajajinagar-based cable operator.