Snow fury cripples Valley cable TV network

Snow fury cripples Valley cable TV network

SRINAGAR: The recent snow may have temporarily disrupted your television signals, but the cable TV operators here say it has almost crippled their 50 percent of distribution lines along with a sizable portion of the amplifiers, causing heavy financial losses.
The operators say that they are counting on the losses suffered due to the snow and it could be in crores of rupees given the network breadth of 28 main operators operating in the Valley.
Mushtaq Ahmad of Site Entertainment Network, one of a major cable TV service provider for the Srinagar, told Kashmir Reader that the latest snow has ripped most of the cables as the damage got intensified due to falling trees and even uprooted electric poles at several places.
“We are not insured against any weather vagaries and only the equipment that is housed at the main distribution office can be insured,” he said, adding that the damage has to be borne by the service provider.
After the switchover over to the set top box cable service, the whole network according to operators now works on the optical fiber cable (OFC) that act as a main line which are followed by other coaxial cable network that cost thousands of rupees,
“In the earlier formant that used the RF (radio frequency) signal any breaks in the line could be easily rectified by a simple joint, but the process now is a complicated one with specialized machines needed to do the job.
He said that a 300 m RG 11 cable costs Rs 7200, while as an amplifier costs Rs 1500- Rs 1800, adding that recently the operators had to redo most of the wiring, as we want that the customers should receive the signal.
The situation according to Mushtaq and the other operators has been, in absence of an insurance cover for weather vagaries, of losses to the operators.
Imran Azim a service provider in Chatabal, Darish Kadal, Shah Mohalla said that many of the amplifiers used in the transmission where damaged as at many place as the overhead power lines came in contact with the cables resulting in short-circuits.
He said he suffered a damage of more than Rs 50,000 for his network with replacements of snapping cables carried.
The main operators say that their business is feeling the heat from various ends, with banks not too enthusiastic to finance them, besides the imposition of service tax and threats of takeover by outside operators looming large.
The operators say they don’t have round the clock power supply available and have to use frequently generators to keep the system functional, which is a heavy burden on them.
The operators say that almost 95 percent of this collapsed network has been restored, even with the snow taking toll.b