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Paid channels blocked for Arasu cable TV customers

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Customers of Arasu Cable TV were a disappointed lot on Friday morning as they could not view paid channels including HD channels that they were entitled to as part of their monthly plan.

The customers affected were those who had not informed or selected their choice of paid channels with the cable operators before the February 1 deadline for the new a-la-carte tariff announced by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Customers with SD set top box have been paying a Rs 200, and Rs 265 for availing HD channels.

Customers of private cable TV operators too will not have access to paid channels from mid night on Friday. Private cable TV operators have been offering 300 channels including 200 free-to-air and 80 paid channels for around Rs 170 to Rs 300 per month in city and rural areas.

Arasu cable TV operators, with over 1.4 lakh customer base in the city, were receiving calls right from the early hours asking for the reason for the black out. K Meenakshi, 50, of Ramakrishna Nagar in Kallukuzhi, was aware of the new TRAI rule but blamed the operator for not keeping her informed about the black out. According to Ganesan, tahsildar for TACTV in Trichy, said that 1.4 lakh applications have been so far distributed to cable operators to get list of paid channels from customers.

However, cable operators in Trichy have not done so yet. “Cable TV operators protesting the new rule were anticipating scrapping of the new rule,” said B Vishnuvardhan, Trichy district president, Tamil Nadu Cable TV Operators Association (TCOA). “Now that TRAI has ruled out any roll-back, the operators have decided to distribute applications seeking list of paid channels from customers,” he said.

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