3-week cable relief for city3-week cable relief for city
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Kolkatans heaved a sigh of relief this morning when the much-hyped cable blackout did not happen.
Apart from a handful of channels like BBC News, Movies Now and TLC, most channels were available. Sources said this relief would last for about three weeks, a deadline the state government has set after which all analogue signals will be switched off.
In a meeting with MSOs today, Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim stressed on the availability of set-top boxes. "He said the boxes should be available in the required numbers and sold at the right price. If need be, he will ensure police intervention if any cable operator tries to sell it at a premium," said the director of an MSO.
Some channels, depending on the circle and the MSO, were not available since morning but most of the signals were restored by evening. "For at least another three weeks, signal will be available. Then depending on the situation and the government decision, we will have to take our next step," said Sudip Ghosh, director of Manthan.
Suresh Sethia, director of Siti Cable, said that only a handful channels was not available. "Most of the popular channels were available. Very soon the entire network will be digitised, clearing all the confusion," he said.
Cable operators, however, are not too optimistic about the new deadline, which they say is nowhere near enough to meet the requirements in terms of availability and demand.
"At least 20 lakh homes in the city are yet to receive set-top boxes because the MSOs could not provide them. In the next three weeks, hardly 3 lakh homes will be covered. Then there will either be a new deadline or homes will go without TV viewing," said Mrinal Chatterjee, joint convenor, Cable Operators' Digitization Committee.
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