Cable operators in the city were flooded with calls from citizens demanding set-top boxes on Thursday, as it became mandatory for households in the country’s four metros to get a digital cable connection. Television sets in homes of several Mumbaiites, who had not made the switch, went blank thus causing a frenzy.
Home Cable Entertainment Pvt Ltd in Mulund received up to 20,000 orders for set-top boxes from neighbouring areas on Thursday alone. “We could issue only 12,000 boxes on Thursday,” said Rajendra Kulh-are, set-top box (STB) manager for the company.
The disproportionate supply to demand meant that some customers had to pay almost double. “I was told that a set-top box would cost about Rs700, but when the cable operator told me to pay Rs1,300 if I wanted to get it done on Thursday,” said Mangala Padwal, a Goregaon resident. “My children were not able to watch TV so I decided to pay the amount and get it installed.”
The rush also left cable operators perplexed. “We usually issue under 10 boxes in a day, but over the last few days, we have received hundreds of ord-ers. We are now falling short of supplies,” said Digambar Basu-tkar, manager, Digi Space Net-work Pvt Ltd. “Most people did not take the deadline seriously as they thought it would be exte-nded again, but once their TVs went blank, they rushed to get set-top boxes.”
Till Wednesday, almost seven lakh households in the city were still to be digitised and operators expected a shortage of set-top boxes in the coming days.