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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cable TV Rates Up As Temperature Dips!

CABLE television subscribers will have to pay higher monthly fees from the beginning of the New Year. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Friday announced a 7% increase in cable television subscription rates across the board. Trai has also reduced settop box rentals effective January 1, 2009. So consumers will have to pay an additional Rs 0.35 paise more per month per pay channel in conditional access system (CAS) areas. This means, each pay channel will now cost Rs 5.35 as against Rs 5 at present. Besides, if you are subscribing to only the basic free channels (without any pay channels), your monthly bill will increase to Rs 82 compared to the current Rs 77. The minimum cable fee for CAS areas have also been hiked to Rs 82. CAS areas include parts of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata and the whole of Chennai. Here, television viewers can access pay channels only in the digital format, which means they should either take up a set-top box or a Direct-to-Home (DTH) connection provided by players such as Dish TV, TataSky among others. The rest of India is classified as non-CAS. The new rates for set-top boxes come in two schemes and consumers can opt for either. The first offers lower security deposit (Rs 200, down from the earlier Rs 250) and monthly rental of Rs 34 from the earlier Rs 45. The second offers higher security and lower monthly rentals. Under this scheme, the security deposit is down to Rs 750 from Rs 999, for a monthly fee of Rs 22 (instead of Rs 30).
“It was felt necessary to provide for inflation-linked increase in the ceiling for different players of delivery chain of cable TV services, and accordingly 7% increase has been provided based on whole sale price index movement for cable services in non-CAS and CAS areas,” said Trai in a statement. Thus the ceiling that the telecom and broadcast regulator had earlier imposed would now be revised based on the number of paid television channels in different parts of the country. If you are living in one of the metros like Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata or non-CAS regions of Delhi and Mumbai, you would have to pay Rs 171-278 depending on the number of paid channels. Apart from the metros, the X Class (see table) includes cities like Ahmedabad, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kanpur, Lucknow, Nagpur, Noida, Pune and Surat. In smaller cities and state capitals like Agra, Aligarh, Ludhiana or Vishakapatnam, your cable bill will now be Rs 150- 235.

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