Cable TV digitization deadline put off by four months


The much-trumpeted digitalization of cable TV services in four metros will now have to wait for four months beyond July 1, when it was originally scheduled to be introduced.

The decision to defer the plan for switchover from analogue to digitized signals was announced by the government on Wednesday as it was found that the metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata were not ready for it.

"The ministry of information and broadcasting has decided to modify the 30th June deadline for a complete switch over to 31st October 2012," a statement issued by the I&B ministry on Wednesday said.

"All the TRAI regulations for digital addressable system will come into effect from 1st November, 2012," the statement added.

It said that the assessment of ground realities compelled the ministry of I&B to set a new deadline, which would now be monitored more vigorously.

Digitization of the cable services in the entire country by December 2014 was one of the tasks that the I&B ministry had set for itself and the first step towards achieving this goal was its implementation in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai by June 30.

Installing set-top boxes (STBs) in each cable viewing household is a precondition for digitization and as per official sources even a fortnight before the June 30, it was estimated that only 30 per cent of households had acquired STBs.

"The seeding of STBs in cable viewing households was not satisfactory so a new deadline has been set. The state governments involved had sought an extension of six months till December 31. However we have agreed to a postponement of deadline till November 30 and this time we plan to monitor it very strictly," a senior official said.

Cable TV digitization deadline put off by four months