We have seen the cable operations to go from chaos to unregulated to anything goes in Tamilnadu cities. Any cable opertator can charge any money and it is only determined by the market range. For the same channel lineup, cable companies charging different rates in different areas of the same cities are a norm. While the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) fixed the rate for free channels as Rs.77 plus service tax, In Tamil Nadu the cable operators charge anything between Rs.100 and Rs.110 per month.

The government in its budget this year decided to waive the entertainment tax to the tune of Rs.160 million. But cable operators continue collecting it from the households. Have any of you seen a drop in the cost of cable service. ?

While there is a law but no order on the retail pricing of free channels, the state government is moving ahead with its plans to start its own cable operations under the banner Arasu Cable TV Corporation. I am not sure that it is a good idea apart from a revenue stream for the govt. Is it not the govt’s responsibility to enforce the law and reduce the price with private operators. Instead it is using its might to crush the independent and private operators. I am not sure what is the pricing  for this service, but If i am correct, it will be close to Rs.77 + tax but I am not sure that it will give all the TV channels equal status. Who decides which is a free channel and which is not and who decides which channel pays how much to air their channel to public. Controlling the distribution is a pretty pwerful propoganda vehicle.

 We saw the surge in TV programming quality only after the involvement of multiple private channels. ( We all remember the dismal quality of DD programs before private channels came in ).

Anyway, The State government has decided to float tenders to acquire the necessary equipment and start the cable TV services first in Nilgiri, Coimbatore, Erode, Namakkal, Karur, Salem, Dindugul, Trichy, Tanjavur, Puddukottai, Perambalur, Ariyalur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts July 15.

We will see how it goes. …