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DTH News : Cable TV digitization put off by four months till October 31
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.
Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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Govt puts off cable TV digitisation deadline by 4 months to 1 November

NEW DELHI: Bowing to pressure from the local cableoperators, multi-system operators and some state governments, the Government today decide to defer the date of cable digital addressable systems (DAS) to 1 November in the first phase covering four metros.
The four-month delay from the earlier deadline of 1 July was announced today even as matters are pending before the Mumbai and Delhi High Courts and Tdsat. This will also satisfy the West Bengal government as chief minister Mamata Banerjee was pressing for digitisation in Kolkata after the Dusshera Pujas.
The official statement said: "The assessment of the ground realities compels the I&B Ministry to set a new deadline. It is, however, imperative that the modified target deadline is set with strict benchmarks to ensure that no complacency sets-in in the system and the new target date is achieved collectively by all the stakeholders."

"Therefore, keeping in view public interest and after intensive and extensive consultations as well as written commitments from all the stakeholders for fully implementing the regulations of Trai", the Ministry said it had decided to modify the deadline to 31 October in all four metro cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
Under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2011, it had been mandated that the switchover of the existing analogue Cable TV networks to DAS by December 2014, in a phased manner. In respect of four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, the digital switchover was mandated to come into effect from 1 July 2012.
The Government admitted in its order that the orders of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Tariff & Interconnection, and on the Quality of Service Regulations and the Consumer Complaint Redressal Regulations had not yet been substantially implemented.
As a result of this, the installation of set-top boxes had not picked up necessary pace for the completion of the process of digitisation by 30 June 2012.
The Task Force comprising all stakeholders constituted by the Ministry in April 2011 had been monitoring the progress made by various stakeholders towards digitisation. The task force has also undertaken field visits and interacted with local stakeholders. Discussions have been regularly held with broadcasters, multi-system operators (MSOs) and local cableoperators (LCOs), while the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had been in regular contact with the concerned State Governments on this issue.

Regulations on Tariff & Interconnection were issued by Trai only on 30 April 2012 instead of being issued in January 2012, ‘as expected’. The Quality of Service Regulations and the Consumer Complaint Redressal Regulations were issued on 14 May 2012 by Trai.
Under these, every Broadcaster and MSO was required to publish its Reference Interconnect Offers (RIOs) within 30 days of issue of the Regulation. Another 30 days are required for negotiations between broadcasters and MSOs. Thereafter, the MSOs and LCOs arrive at agreements which enable the consumers to have a clear indication of the terms and conditions for installing STBs and the prices of channels on an a-la-carte as well as on a bouquet basis.
The second order of Trai of 14 May 2012 has mandated that every MSO or its linked cable operator has to put in place a Consumer Complaint Redressal System consisting of a complaint centre with toll free consumer care number, web based complaint monitoring system as well as appoint or designate one or more nodal officers and publish consumer’s charter for DAS.
The Ministry will closely monitor the process of digitisation over the next four months, and will issue warning letters to those going slow on their written commitments. Needless to add, both the Ministry and Trai will take action under the provisions of the Cable Act wherever and whenever necessary, the statement said.
Court Hearings
The court hearings will now lack bite with the government pushing back the deadline date.
The Bombay High Court was supposed to hear a petition on delaying digitisation today which it postponed to tomorrow.
The Delhi HC also postponed its hearing in a similar matter to 25 June.
The Tdsat will also hear a matter filed by LCOs and IndusInd Media & Communications Ltd (IMCL) against Trai’s tariff order on 25 June.

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