Customers of Arasu Cable TV were a disappointed lot as they could not view paid channels including HD channels that they were entitled to as part of their monthly plan.
The customers affected were those who had not informed or selected their choice of paid channels with the cable operators before the February 1 deadline for the new a-la-carte tariff announced by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
Customers with SD set-top box have been paying a Rs 200, and Rs 265 for availing HD channels. Customers of private cable TV operators too will not have access to paid channels from midnight on Friday.
Private cable TV operators have been offering 300 channels including 200 free-to-air and 80 paid channels for around Rs 170 to Rs 300 per month in city and rural areas.
Arasu cable TV operators, with over 1.4 lakh customer base in the city, were receiving calls right from the early hours asking for the reason for the blackout. K Meenakshi, 50, of Ramakrishna Nagar in Kallukuzhi, was aware of the new TRAI rule but blamed the operator for not keeping her informed about the blackout.
According to Ganesan, tahsildar for TACTV in Trichy said that 1.4 lakh applications have been so far distributed to cable operators to get a list of paid channels from customers.
However, cable operators in Trichy have not done so yet. “Cable TV operators protesting the new rule were anticipating scrapping of the new rule,” said B Vishnuvardhan, Trichy district president, Tamil Nadu Cable TV Operators Association (TCOA). “Now that TRAI has ruled out any roll-back, the operators have decided to distribute applications seeking a list of paid channels from customers,” he said.
Alleging that the new system will leave the TV channels unbridled, he said that average expense under the a-la-carte system for watching channels of the present pack will not be around Rs 800, and including 18% GST will add it up to Rs 944 per month.
Vishnuvardhan said that operators have started contacting customers and will resume paid channels as per customers’ requirements within a few day.―Times Of India