20 Sep 2017
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LCOs in Tamil Nadu up in arms against Arasu

MUMBAI: Local cable operators (LCOs) in Tamil Nadu are up in arms against Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation (TACTV) for eating into their income and trying to grab their customers by making them pay subscription fee online bypassing the operators.

LCOs affiliated to various associations that are part of Federation of Cable TV Associations of Tamil Nadu (FCTATN) protested against the state government-owned MSO by observing a fast in Madurai. They accused Arasu for acting against the interests of the LCOs.

The LCOs put forth their argument that they own the last-mile infrastructure while TACTV, which was formed with zero investment, is trying to grab this infrastructure. Arasu’s claim that all the infrastructure and subscribers is their own is unfair, the LCOs said.

Arasu has fixed the cable TV subscription fee at Rs 70, which is below that recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Out of this meagre amount, LCOs are asked to pay nearly 50% to Arasu, FCTATN chief coordinator D.G.V.P. Sekar said.

TACTV’s decision to charge subscription fee directly from customers has also unsettled the LCOs.

The LCOs also complained of political interference by the ruling party as many district-level and taluk-level control room operators of TACTV are appointed on the recommendation of ruling-party functionaries.

The LCOs also demanded fixing the subscription fee at TRAI-recommended level, granting right to collect subscription fee to cable TV operators, forming a welfare board for cable TV operators, stringent monitoring of TACTV operations by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and TRAI, and exemption from Goods and Services Tax (GST) for cable TV operation.