Cable TV

MIB asks Arasu: Give proof of analogue switch-off

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NEW DELHI: The Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation (TACTV), which had early this month claimed to have gone digital, has been asked to “confirm that you have already switched off analogue signals and are carrying only digital encrypted signals on your cable TV network.”

In a letter to TACTV despatched late in the evening yesterday, the state-owned multi-system operator (Arasu) was told to reply within 10 days of issuance of the letter, “failing which your registration is likely to be suspended/revoked.”

Copies of the letter have been sent to the police commissioner in Chennai, the secretary in the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), and the principal secretary in the Tamil Nadu IT Department.

The letter sent by the under-secretary Anil Kumar in the Digital Addressable Service (DAS) section in the ministry of information and broadcasting said, “Since the date for TACTV to switch over to digital cable service in the state of Tamil Nadu is already over, you are directed to confirm that you have already switched off analogue signals."

By the letter of 17 April 2017, the current letter noted, the ministry had granted provisional MSO registration to TACTV to provide cable TV network services with digital addressable system in Tamil Nadu with the condition that it will switch over to digital TV within three months, failing which its registration is likely to be suspended/revoked.

Thereafter, following a request received from the Tamil Nadu state government seeking a three-month extension, one month extension up to 17 August 2017 was granted.

TACTV had, on 1 September, announced the launch of its digital operations with the inauguration of upgraded MPEG 4 control room and distribution of free set top boxes to subscribers.

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami launched DAS at Nungambakkam in Chennai. Minister for information technology M Manikandan and the chief secretary Girija Vaidyanathan were also present.

The distribution of free STBs was a promise made in the last AIADMK party manifesto by the late chief minister J Jayalalithaa. Around seven million Arasu subscribers reportedly got access to 180 channels in digital quality at a monthly subscription of Rs 125.

The STBs were to be distributed to users through local cable operators who could charge a one-time activation fee of Rs 200. The distribution of free STBs was scheduled to be completed in three months, an official release had stated.

Meanwhile, the government was yet to take a final decision on repeated reports by TRAI that states, political parties, and religious groups should not be permitted in broadcasting or distribution sectors.

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