NTV Plus Clients Hit by Post, Service Woes

Satellite television provider NTV Plus started broadcasting Tuesday with a new, improved encoded signal, barring illegal users from the service but apparently causing a few problems for many of its 165,000 subscribers.

The switch to a new encoded signal was implemented through an exchange of old smart cards for new ones, thus disabling people who were using counterfeit smart cards to view NTV Plus.

However, scores of current subscribers were unable to watch NTV Plus as late as Wednesday because they had not received their new cards.

"NTV Plus is not working at my place because we haven't received a new card yet, although we have requested all the information and paid our fees," said Yelizaveta Grigoryeva, who works in a publishing house. A subscriber to NTV Plus for three years, she added that she will now need to travel across town to NTV Plus' office to get the card herself, "which isn't very convenient."

Other subscribers said NTV Plus' customer service department had been of little help.

Yulia Doinikova, a subscriber since December, said she had to call the customer service center five times to clarify her address before the card was eventually delivered. "They could not have done a worse job," she said.

NTV Plus spokeswoman Anastasia Kazakova said the company had done its best to cause as little inconvenience to clients as possible, having sent new cards either via registered mail or courier service.

"Some subscribers might not have received the cards on time due to reasons that are not NTV Plus' fault," she said. "Some subscribers have not called customer service and left their address, while some have not received their new cards due to postal delays."

NTV Plus general director Alexander Ordzhonikidze has said that the new encoding system would result in a significant increase in the subscriber base.