Kolkata: In order to prove its cable TV digitation programme successful from November 1, the Union government's projection of cable connections in Kolkata area has been halved from the actual subscriber base in just three months, cable operators claimed.

"In June, senior officials of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in a meeting had projected cable connections in Kolkata at 38 lakhs, but in a subsequent meeting in mid-September they reduced the number to 19 lakhs," said Cable Operators Digitisation Committe convenor Swapan Chowdhury.

"They have done the same in all other metros too. The I&B department has reduced the number of cable households to show high digitisation penetration," he claimed.

According to our estimation, the number of cable connections in Kolkata will be close to 40 lakh, he said adding it also threw up the fact that so far only 35 per cent consumers had opted for set top boxes.

"With the reduction in the number of cable households the digitisation penetration from I&B will just get double to 70 per cent," Chowdhury said.

He alleged that confusion and uncertainity prevailed in all aspects of digitisation from MSOs to local cable operators to consumers.

Still there is no agreement between broadcasters and MSOs. Neither the MSOs nor the cable operators have signed any agreement, he said.

Unable to convince Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to revise the tariff order announced in April, the cable operators had approached appellate authority TDSAT for a respite.

"Hearing is complete and we expect the order any day and then only the next course of action can be decided. The tariff announced by Trai is next to impossible to operate in higher cost environment under digitisation," Chowdhury said.

(Agencies)

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