Friday, July 07, 2006

An Appeal - Vidarsha Dharmasena (An Email received by us)

Thu, 6 Jul 2006 11:55:10 -0700 (PDT)

"Vidarsha Dharmasena"
CBNsat Investigation/Licensing Issue,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


Dear Sirs,

I am writing this email on behalf of thousands of inconvenienced subscribers of CBNsat DTH TV service.

I live in a rural area with no access to Cable TV. I became a subscriber of CBNsat in October 2005 (when they introduced HBO on their network) by paying Rs. 18,900 and have been a very satisfied customer in terms of content, and reliability of service. I never questioned the viability of this business as they had made an enormous investment, as well as since it was a BOI approved venture.

This same technology (DVB-S Satellite Digital Video Broadcasting) is used all over the world to provide TV content to millions of households. (Example- DISH Networks-USA, DirecTV-India)

Those who reside in outstations have always lost out to the residents of Colombo (Especially in the case of English Language entertainment) as none of the commercial organizations are interested inproviding Cable TV services to rural areas due to high roll-out costs associated with Cable TV. Even terrestrial TV broadcasters like TVLanka, ETV and Dynavision are available only to the residents of Western Province.

However, with CBNsat, we've been able to access very high quality programming not available with any local TV service providers at an affordable price. The following is a breakup of the channels provided by CBNsat:

News : BBC World

Sports : ESPN
STAR Spotrs

Education : Discovery Channel
National Geographic Channel
The History Channel

Movies : HBO
HBO Signature

Action/Lfestyle/Reality TV : Reality TV
Adventure 1
Fashion TV

Music : MTV (Music Television)
VH1 (Video Hits 1)

Cartoon/Kids : Nickelodeon
Cartoon Network

Tamil : Raj TV
Raj Digital

Local : ITN

This service has enabled me to broaden my horizons on the way I see the world unlike any other media network has ever been able to. But with the untimely stoppage of this service, we have lost our only source of quality entertainment and infotainment.

For example, we lost our chance to watch the cricket series between Sri Lanka and England. Although the one day series was telecasted on "Derana" this channel can be viewed only in Western and Southern provinces.

In a fast moving, rapidly changing world, it's vital that the peoples of a nation be provided with all means of obtaining information, in order to be competitive with the rest of the world. When the rest of the world is moving forward at warp speed, Sri Lanka seems to be moving back towards the Stone Age with irresponsible actions like these.

CBNsat has been given a "Guilty Until Proven Innocent" verdict. We also find it hard to understand why this investigation/licensing issue has been dragging for so long with no end in sight. If this current state of having CBNsat shut down continues any further, the business may collapse due to lack of revenue even if it's cleared to start operations once the regulations are drafted/investigations are complete.

We see advertisements for various DTH (Direct To Home) installations for FTA (Free To Air) channels being sold in Sri Lanka, yet no action has ever been taken against these companies and individuals. It seems that a large part of the issue stems from the fact that CBNsat uplinks it's signal from Sri Lanka. Had they uplinked the same signal from, say, India, and sold the receivers in Sri Lanka, they wouldn’t have been in this mess. In short, this is how they are treated for bringing in Valuable technology and creating employment opportunities in Sri Lanka.

This also sends a very negative message to investors who wish to make future high-tech investments in Sri Lanka.

I PLEAD with you to allow CBNsat to restart their operations ASAP. In the meanwhile, whatever investigations or regulatory activities necessary can be carried out in the background WITHOUT INCONVENIENCING THE CUSTOMERS.

Dear Secretary to the president,
Please forward this email to Hon. President Mahinda Rajapakse for his attention.

Yours truly,
Vidarsha Dharmasena

(The above letter was received by us by email. It is time for all of us to take some action and make sure we get our entertainment back)


StoneAge said...

Thats great.

We should all send emails.

But please make sure that the emails are all serious.

I donot think it will be fare to send emails that will un professional.

A good example is what Vidarsha Dharmasena has written.

dee.panadura said...

I doubt that any of the recepients will know how to read email.

Just in case a copy would be good by normal mail.