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Take 5: ‘DTH players ask for Rs 400. How can we only charge Rs 100?’

Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi recently announced a cap of Rs 100 per month on cable TV tariff, saying this will end cartelisation, with “Badals controlling the business.” The Indian Express in conversation with Sanjeet Singh Sunny Gill, President, Cable TV Operators’ Association, Punjab

Written by Kanchan Vasdev |
December 26, 2021 4:44:46 am
Sanjeet Singh Sunny Gill

1 What do you make of the government’s decision?

When the government cannot control the price of DTH (Direct-to-Home) services, how can it control cable tariff? The state government has no right to cap the tariff as cable operators are governed by TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) and they have already fixed the tariff at Rs 130 a month for 200 free-to-air channels.

2 The government has not notified its order yet…

That’s my point. The government cannot notify the Rs 100 cap. TRAI has fixed a certain tariff and if the government notifies the cap, we will take it up with TRAI. When DTH operators charge Rs 400, how can we be expected to provide services for Rs 100?

3 How feasible is the government’s Rs 100 plan?

Even if a consumer opts only for free channels, the bill will come to Rs 130. The CM has been probably misguided. As per the TRAI rules, the Rs 130 that we charge includes 18 per cent GST. This way an operator gets only Rs 65 from each connection. Plus, there are operational costs. A cable operators earns between Rs 15,000 and Rs 25,000 a month.

4 How many cable operators are there in Punjab?

There are around 5,000 of them who deliver services to 18 lakh people. DTH services have around 17 lakh connections.

5 Do you fear the cable TV business will be hit?

We are certain that we will not be able to provide our services at Rs 100 a month. This order will create a conflict between consumers and cable operators. As a result, subscribers will turn to DTH services. This will benefit multinational companies.

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