Cable TV digitization – Indian Government’s new gimmick/scam

24 Oct

The regulator, TRAI(Telecom Regulatory Authority of India), has asked cable operators in all the four metros – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai – to go digital by October 31, 2012 and the rest of India by end of 2014. I guess most of us by now must have seen the annoying Indian Government’s advertisement regarding this deadline on various TV channels.

Sounds like a new gimmick of Indian government, here is how:

Three stakeholders in this digitization scam

1. Indian Government
-Government says LCOs(Local cable operators) report less cable connections than they have actually distributed which results in less revenue for government. The digitization will eliminate the revenue leakage by 60%. Is this a reason to force digitization on the poor India, can’t government afford to have consumer watchdog in place to prevent this leakage instead of making DTH mandatory for all. In many low income parts of the country the cable operators charge a mere Rs50-60 per month for the cable entertainment. How will this community of India manage the DTH?

- Censorship - The digitization will give government a complete control of programs from a single point.  The localized channels being broadcasted by local organizations/communities will get a big hit. This will surely prevent the corruption news of government reaching out to the masses.

2. Broadcasters

MSO(Multiple System Operator). MSO is the industry term for “cable company”.

- After digitization total distributed connections will be reported so MSOs will surely increase revenue by 60%.
- After digitization MSOs and LCOs(Local Cable Operators) can control the signal at their will and thus will control what consumers should watch.
- LCOs will gain less and loose more, because as of today they were setting the prices based on their total connections, example they were charging less money from low income people such as jhuggiwals etc. Moving forward everyone would have to pay the same price to enjoy the cable TV.

3. Consumer

- Will gain less and loose more
- Consumers will be able to watch only what boradcasters or MSO wants them to watch. The programs telecasted at local levels will surely die.
- Increased cost of service because the normal pricing will be decided by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
- Becasue the Quality of picture will increase so MSO and broadcaster will charge high money from the consumer.

It’s a shame that government of India has given the digitization agenda such a high priority and passed a law to mandate the DTH for all Indians. Do they not have better things to take care of first. How many times the government has aired their ad campaign on cable TV digitization, can’t understand the need to rush, why government why?

We would have been more happy if government had made an ad on how females should seek law after being molested/teased every second, at least this would have helped the women in India feel more safe on the streets of India.

Government wants to take the example of countries like US and digitize the cable, why don’t they take the example of infrastructure development of developed countries. Come on Indian government, opening new malls and thousands of Mcdonald chains and cable TV digitization won’t make us developed. India is still 50 years behind those developed countries and if the Government behaves like this surely we will never develop, we might just look like we are one developed country but surely we are not.

  • Amit Agrawal

    very true