Technology

Cable digitisation bill introduced in parliament

NEW DELHI: The second major step to end the era of analog transmission in the cable television was taken today with the introduction of an amended Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act 1995 in the Lok Sabha to make digitalisation mandatory.


The Bill aims to digitise the cable sector in the country by December 31, 2014. The Government had earlier announced a timetable for complete digitisation of cable television in the four metros by 31 March, 2012, but this was put off to June 2012 in a notification issued subsequently.


The target date for completely digitising cable sector in cities with population of more than one million was 30 March 2013, all urban areas by 30 September 2014, and the whole country by 31 December 2014. This will also mean an end to the analogue era and customers of cable networks must have a digital addressable set-top-box irrespective of whether they wish to receive free-to-air or encrypted (pay) channels.


The delay for two months is because the Government had laid down in the Ordinance that promulgated earlier this month that six months notice will be given to the cable TV operators to enable them to install the necessary equipment for transmitting encrypted channels through a digital addressable system, in keeping with the deadlines set for this purpose for various states and cities.


The Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill aims to replace the Ordinance, since the Constitution is clear that any Ordinance has to be replaced by a Bill within six weeks of the next Parliament session.


Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said the measure will empower consumer to high quality viewing and also higher number of TV channels. There will be no prime band after introduction of digitization. 
 
Through the ordinance a clause was inserted in the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act to make a digital addressable system mandatory in the cable sector.
For the second phase, the 38 specific cities and areas which have been listed in the notification are - Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Kanpur, Jaipur, Lucknow, Nagpur, Patna, Indore, Bhopal, Thane, Ludhiana, Agra, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nashik, Vadodara, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Rajkot, meerut, Kalyan-Dombivali, Varanasi, amrtisar, Navi Mumbai, Aurangabad, Solapur, Allahabad, Jabalpur, Srinagar, Visakhapatnam, Ranchi, Howrah, Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Maysore and Jodhpur.


After digitisation, all cable operators carry encrypted signals only through digital set top boxes in accordance with the deadlines that have been notified.

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