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LCOs protest against Hathway in Bengaluru

MUMBAI: The bout between Hathway Cable and Datacom and local cable operators (LCOs) in Bengaluru has surfaced again. Four months after Hathway had switched off set-top boxes (STBs) for non-submission of customer application forms (CAFs), the LCOs have returned the favour by blacking out the MSO’s cable TV signals.

While the exact number of homes that went black is difficult to assess, the Karnataka State Cable Operators Association (KCOA) claimed that about 70 per cent of Hathway’s network in Bengaluru were switched off between 10 am to 4 pm.

The LCOs under the banner of KSCOA protested outside Hathway office in Bengaluru under heavy police presence. After that, the top KSCOA officials were called in to meet Hathway officials to discuss their issues. However, the meeting was inconclusive.

The KSCOA also met Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) advisor and head of Kerala and Karnataka Sibichen K Matthew with their grievances. Matthew assured LCOs of taking up their issues with TRAI officials in Delhi, according to KSCOA officials.

The LCOs said they are unhappy with the frequent switching off of STBs by Hathway to increase collection from them. Hathway is asking for Rs 90 per month (excluding sports channel) from the LCOs which the latter finds unacceptable.

The LCOs are demanding Hathway to sign interconnect agreement and implement packaging and billing immediately. They are also seeking restoration of Star Sports channels.