Published On : Tue, Jul 9th, 2013

Subscribers should not be punished in tussle between Cable Operators and TRAI – VTA

Nagpur News: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) through a press release has directed Cable Operators / Multi System Operators to collect Consumer Application Forms (CAFs) along with photo, address and choice of channels and services from their subscribers and submit the same to the Authorities by July 10, 2013.

In case of failure in doing so, TRAI shall disconnect transmission all such set top boxes whose CAF are not received by the Department before such date, which has been extended by TRAI from time to time. Likewise TRAI has also asked subscribers to fill up the CAF and submit either to Cable Operator or Authorities.

Taking this issue in public interest, a delegation of Vidarbha Taxpayers Association (VTA) led by its President J. P. Sharma met Saurabh Rao, Collector Nagpur and submitted memorandum on the subject.

VTA also sent memorandum on this to Kapil Sibal, Minister for Telecommunication & Information Technology and Dr. Rajesh Khullar, Chairman TRAI, New Delhi appealing reconsideration of decision of disconnecting set top boxes on such prefixed deadline.

Sharma said although TRAI has attempted their best to convey such message to subscribers for submission of CAF, however still majority of subscribers are still unaware and have not initiated any action in this regard. Thus if Authorities disconnect set top boxes, it would lead to major confusion and may increase subscriber cable operator conflict.

Tejinder Singh Renu, Secretary of VTA said the ongoing tussle is between cable operators and TRAI. To gain advantage or to create pressure on cable operators, if TRAI threatens disconnection or disconnects in future, this would be clear cut breach of trust by the department.

Renu said, there would me millions of cable subscribers in the country and any aggressive step of disconnection to create pressure on cable operators would be nothing less than breach of trust by the Authorities as subscribers were never explained difference between buying set top boxes from cable operators and those offered by companies via dish. Majority of subscribers have opted to continue with cable operators and now such threats by authorities is definitely incorrect.

TRAI has never issued any Public Notice explaining difference between buying set top boxes from cable operators and those offered by companies via dish like Tata Sky and others. Majority of subscribers have opted to continue with cable operators and now such threats by authorities is certainly incorrect.

Admittedly TRAI’s mission to create and nurture conditions for growth of telecommunications in the country in a manner and at a pace which will enable India to play a leading role in emerging global information society is absolutely fine, however in doing so consumers / citizens / subscribers should not get squeezed for non fault by them.

VTA appeals to the Government of India and TRAI to reconsider the decision of disconnecting set top boxes for non compliance by Cable Operators and Multi System Operators (MSOs) which will harm subscribers directly and shall be against natural justice. Likewise before issuing any drastic directions, which may affect the subscribers, TRAI should issue ‘Public Notice’, so that all are well aware of the situation in progress and actions proposed ahead.

Collector Saurabh Rao agreed to the issues raised by VTA and assured VTA that in his remarks to the government, he’ll specifically mention that consumers should not be penalized.

Present in the delegation were Joint Secretary Pravin M. Agrawal, Executive Body Member Rohit Agrawal, Yogendra Mohan Singh and Sachin Jain.