Karnataka government directs cable operators to reduce prices

Karnataka government has demanded cable operators to reduce monthly subscription fees to INR 100 within two months. If the operators deny, the government has planned to launch cable TV services at a lesser price. The state information minister, R Roshan Baig, said that the ad hoc system of collecting varying subscription from subscribers was not acceptable

“Our view is that subscribers must be charged INR 100 a month. We have asked the operators to either reduce the subscription (ranging from Rs 350 to Rs 400) or face competition from government-owned cable TV services,” said Baig. He said that he had given two month to operators to resolve the issue, failing which the government will decide on whether to enter the market.

But the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) regulations does not allow government entities to enter the broadcasting and distribution sector.

V S Patrick Raju, President of Karnataka State Cable Operators Association said that such a move by the government would put the livelihood of 1.5 million people in jeopardy. On the issue of varying rates being charged by cable TV operators in the state, Raju said, “Our role is minimal. And multi-system operators finalise the rates for channels. Subscribers are forced to view channels aired by MSOs.”