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DAS 4 deadline extended to 31 Mar

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NEW DELHI: Digitisation of the final (fourth) phase of Digital Addressable System has been put off to 31 March 2017.

The information and broadcasting ministry said this was being done “in lieu of uncertainty in the market due to pending court cases and unsatisfactory progress of installation of set-top boxes (STBs) in Phase IV areas.” Digitisation in rural areas was targeted to be achieved by 31 December, 2016, under Phase IV.

The ministry said a notification in this regard will be issued shortly.

The ministry is also providing additional time for the remaining subscribers in Phase III areas to switch over to digital mode of transmission by 31 January 2017 on account of ongoing court proceedings.

In Phase III areas, digitisation in remaining urban areas in the country was to be completed by 31 December, 2015. However, some MSO associations/individuals had moved various High Courts and obtained either extension of cut-off date / stay on the operationalisation of the notifications of the ministry dated 11 November 2011 and 11 September 2014.

The matter was raised before the Supreme Court by the ministry, which transferred all the cases to the Delhi High Court for hearing in an order on 1 April 2016. The Delhi High Court disposed of most of the cases, and the ministry said, “It is very likely that the remaining cases would also be finally disposed of in very near future.”

The ministry will be issuing instructions to all the broadcasters, multi-system operators (MSOs), local cable operators (LCOs) and the authorised officers to ensure that no analog signals would be transmitted over the cable networks in Phase III areas after 31 January 2017.

The ministry also made clear that no further extension of time would be allowed.

The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2011, made it mandatory for switch-over of the existing analogue Cable TV networks to Digital Addressable System (DAS) in four phases. Digital switch-over has already taken place in Phase-I and II areas.

However, a case is pending relating to Phase I in Chennai in the Madras High Court.

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