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CAS will keep your cable guy busy

Operators can be taken to court for poor or no service, reports Ravi Bajpai.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2007 03:09 IST

If you have placed your request for a set-top box (STB) but have still not got your connection activated, here is a small tip. 

As per the directives issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), you can claim damages from your cable operator for the delay in providing services. TRAI  has strict guidelines in place for consumer rights under the conditional access system (CAS). 

This is definitely not good news for your cable operator. If an operator does not follow the Quality of Service Regulations formulated by TRAI, you can take him to the district consumer forum for redressal.

Multi system-operators (MSOs) also have to follow the regulations. 

According to the guidelines, a cable operator has to provide you a fully functional CAS connection within two days of completion of formalities, provided you have paid him the required amount.

In case the STB is not activated within the stipulated time, the operator has to give you a compensation of Rs 15 per a day for the first five days. For any further delay, you can demand Rs 10 a day. This amount will be deducted from your monthly bill.

The biggest respite for CAS subscribers is the regulation on untimely disruption of service, which is quite common.

Before initiating any maintenance work, the cable operator has to inform you at least three days in advance about disruption in service. In case the disruption is for more than a day, a 15-day advance notice has to be given to subscribers.

"It is a big relief. Our television screens are blacked out frequently, as the cable operator carries out maintenance work. This may act as a deterrent to callous handling," said Rajiv Kakria, a resident of GK-I.

MSOs and cable operators will now have to maintain a round-the-clock customer service centre throughout the week, including automatic recording of complaints. The operator has to attend complaints received in the day within eight hours. All billing related complaints have to be redressed in a week's time.  “Under CAS regime, consumer is indeed the king. The regulations have been formulated keeping in view the regular complaints against cable operators,” said a TRAI official. However, a government official informed that these guidelines would be followed effectively once CAS is rolled out smoothly. 

Trouble for Tata Sky; over 1 lakh set-top boxes installed tall claims of uninterrupted transmission made by direct-to-home (DTH) service providers fell flat on Tuesday when Tata Sky’s services went off air during the day. But despite the big glitch, there was some good news.  Over 1 lakh set-top boxes were installed on Tuesday. Cable operators were working overtime to finish the huge backlog of installation requests.  

According to Tata Sky officials, the Indian Space Research Organisation was working on the satellite that downlinks signals for the company. The repair job led to the problem. The DTH service providers have been hardselling themselves on the ground that their service is unhindered, unlike cable TV services.   DTH providers also had trouble managing the rise in demand. Residents of some colonies complained that their requests for activation were not responded to.

“I opted for a Tata Sky connection two days back, as my cable operator said it would take time to install a STB. But nobody from the company has come to set up the connection until now,” said R. S. Bhatia, a resident of Safdarjang Enclave.  Dish TV subscribers too had their share of troubles. “I have placed a request for activation of my connection but nobody from the company has replied back. The call centre executive says I should talk to my local dealer and the dealer passes the buck on the company,” said Mukesh Chand Sharma, a resident.  

 Email Ravi Bajpai: bajpairavi@gmail.com