Cable TV

DAS Phase III status report: East and West

MUMBAI: Though the deadline was announced well in advance, the action on-ground took quite some time to get rolling. And now it’s certainly too late to finish on time. “It’s chaos and carnage together. Digitisation, which was meant to be a panacea has turned out to be a poison for cable operators and it’s sad that there is no one to stand by their side,” said a retired official from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) on condition of anonymity.


As per the official’s assessment, on an average, 40 per cent seeding of set-top-boxes (STBs) has been done successfully and it will be impossible to meet the 31 December, 2015.


Digitisation is an East – West – North – South affair and the progress report is quite similar everywhere. This report by covers the proceedings of the eastern and western parts of the country.




The North Eastern part of the country has always been one of the most neglected areas when it comes to central government’s attention. The story is no different when it comes to DAS too. “People here are not aware of 10 per cent of the laws. There is nobody to go to and talk about grievances. Not everyone can go to the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) as they cannot afford to. So they have two options, to either opt out entirely from the cable business or succumb to unfair means. While there are grievances involved, we cannot expect work to go on a brisk pace and it’s all delayed,” Task Force member from Assam Iquebal Ahmed tells this website.


While Ahmed refrained from putting a number to the progress but as per the assessment of other cable operators, approximately 30 per cent of the seeding has been done so far.


And this 30 per cent is still on higher side the story is even worse in West Bengal. “Only eight to 10 per cent of the seeding has been done so far,” estimates Siticable Kolkata director Suresh Sethia. But he also says the work has picked up recently and it is not impossible to meet the deadline provided there is a surge in consumer demand.


“The government has to advertise more aggressively by putting more newspaper inserts to drive consumer requirement. The message needs to be very clear that people need to have set top boxes before 31 December or there will be no TV,” stresses Sethia.


The crisis of STBs, which is very widely spoken about is not something Sethia is bothered about. “As far as we are concerned, we have enough hardware to meet the demand,” he says confidently.




The west side story is a lot better in comparison. “About 60 per cent of the seeding has been done in Gujarat and if we continue with the way we are forging forward, there is a good possibility of us reaching the target by March if not December, provided the deadline is not postponed. However, if the deadline is postponed, the momentum of work will break since the pressure will ease off and then we might not be able to achieve it by June,” says GTPL Hathway COO Shaji Mathews.


Mathews is of the opinion that deals with broadcasters cannot be a reason behind the delay. “Even in Phase I and II, analogue deals continued in digitised areas for a brief period. The transition takes time and will gradually fall in place,” he adds.


However, the progress report in Maharashtra is not as hunky dory as that of Gujarat. The Maharashtra government, like the Central government, is adamant on no extension of deadline. The respective collectors have also communicated the same across every nook and corner. But there is a huge lack of awareness among consumers, says a senior member of Nasik District Cable Operators Federation.


He further adds, “Do we have the infrastructure ready? Why are we not talking about that? The MSOs will benefit the most from this chaotic scenario. They are not releasing the boxes now and the reason is that when the demand hikes up at the last moment, they can jack up the price and sell. DEN is charging Rs 1600 for a STB! Can a phase III consumer afford it? The government needs to look into the deeper issues and generate more awareness instead of showing its muscle power.”


What the scenario at the ground level will be post 31 December, 2015, only time will tell.’s next report will focus on the ground realities in the Northern and Southern parts of the country. Stay tuned.

Latest Reads
Competition regulator okays Goldman Sachs stake purchase in Den Networks

Investment banking major Goldman Sachs has received the Competition Commission's approval to increase its stake in Den Networks to over 24 per cent by acquiring additional shares through preferential allotment route.

Cable TV Multi System Operators
DAS petitions challenging constitutional provisions listed for 3 November

With the division bench taking cognisance of several cases relating the digital addressable system (DAS) Phase III which challenge constitutional provisions, the Delhi High Court will hear the DAS cases on 3 November, 2016

Cable TV DAS
MSOs finally cross 1000 as pan-India DAS deadline nears

With less than three months to go for the deadline of the final phase which will complete cable digitlization all over the country, the total number of multi-system operators has finally crossed 1000 with 774 getting provisional licences till 30 September 2016.

Cable TV Multi System Operators
Several DAS III petitions may be transferred to Division Bench of Delhi High Court

NEW DELHI: The Digital Addressable System (DAS) Phase III legal wrangle is moving on, albeit slowly and steadily.  Lawyers appearing on behalf of the multi-system cable TV operators (MSO) will inform a single-judge bench of the Delhi High Court about a large volume of cases relating to DAS III...

Cable TV DAS
Going a la carte with Star and Indiacast has helped: Bibhu Prasad Rath

Bhibu Rath heads one of the small regional cable TV players in the TV distribution business: Ortel Communications. The MSO began as a local player in the state of Odisha. But, it has since spread into neighboring states such as Chattishgarh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In fact, it...

Cable TV Multi System Operators
Bihar govt trebles cable TV entertainment tax to Rs 50

Even as the government is working on subsuming entertainment and other incidental taxes into a goods and service tax (GST) which would be around 18 per cent, cable TV subscribers in Bihar are about to be delivered a blow to their wallets.

Cable TV Multi System Operators
DEN seeks Goldman Sachs investment nod from shareholders

MUMBAI: Leading Indian multisystem cable TV operator (MSO) DEN Networks –promoted by Sameer Manchanda- which got its board’s nod to issue another 1.58 crore shares at a price of Rs 90 per share to existing investor Goldman Sachs is now seeking shareholder approval for the same through an...

Cable TV Multi System Operators
NXT Digital-InCable merger gets shareholder nod; D’Silva bemoans lack of ecosystem support

MUMBAI: Hinduja Ventures Ltd’s (HVL’s) proposal to demerge its NXT Digital headend in the sky (HITS) business from its subsidiary Grant Investrade Ltd (GIL) and merge it into its cable TV MSO offshoot Indusind Media & Communications Ltd (IMCL) got the thumbs up from its shareholders at its...

Cable TV Multi System Operators
Comcast to launch wireless service using Verizon

Here is good news for all Comcast subscribers. The US cable giant’s chief executive Brian Roberts has announced the launch of a wireless service by mid-2017. It plans to create a service that would run on its 15 million WiFi hotspots and use Verizon's wireless network through a deal struck in 2011...

Cable TV Multi System Operators

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories