The fear of having blank television screens has seen a tremendous rush for direct to home (DTH) services among the rural population over the past few months. With the deadline for digitisation a good nine months away, the rush for DTH connections has, however, meant that the district entertainment department israking in the moolah.
According to the entertainment department officials, they have earned approximately Rs 1 crore in the month of October due to the nearly 22 lakh DTH connections registered in the rural part of the district. The sudden rise in the revenue through DTH connections this year, the ED department is expecting to earn nearly Rs 140 crore as revenue from cable and DTH connections.
“Last year, we collected Rs 110 crore as revenue amount. However, to our surprise, we garnered Rs 80 crore in the last seven months and by the end of this financial year, we are expecting to earn Rs 60 crore more,” said district entertainment department head Mohini Chavan. She added that the Mumbai entertainment department sent the figures to them, as the entertainment duty is collected in Mumbai where the offices of the companies are located. Depending on the new connections registered in the rural parts of the district and city, the amount is then credited to the district entertainment account. She also added that permission for new cable or DTH connection in the rural part of the Pune district is entirely its (Mumbai Collectorate) prerogative.
Chavan said that in Pune and Pimpari-Chinchwad there are presently 4.33 lakh cable connections and 9.50 lakh DTH connections. The figures are, however, miniscule when compared to the connections registered in the rural areas.
“The cable service providers may cheat us by showing only one connection while providing it to more than one customer. However, when it comes to DTH, the private companies who provide the dish antennas notify us the exact number of dish antennas installed,” said Chavan.
“September, 2014 is the deadline for the rural part of the district to move from analogue to digital network by going for either set top boxes through cable services or though DTH system. Considering the shortage of set top boxes in Pune and Pimpari-Chinchwad at the last moment when analogue signal was going to end in the November last year, people residing in the rural areas don’t want to take a chance and want to get the DTH connection as soon as possible,” said Managing Director of Next Generation Cable Communication, Baba Shaikh.
He added that another reason for the tremendous demand for DTH connections is the long hours of load shedding in the rural part of the district. “Due to long hours of load shedding, the rural populace have USP back up and DTH services can start with USP back up,” added Shaikh.
Number of DTH connections registered in the rural parts of the district in the last seven months