Digitisation: Broadcasters move Delhi HC

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), Star India and Zee News Ltd have filed a petition in the Delhi High Court today, challenging the extension of digitisation deadline to 1 November in the four Metros.

The petitioners have contended that the Government did not have mandate to order an extension under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2011.

"We have moved the court against the Government‘s decision to extend digitisation in the four metros, after mandating it. We also want to ensure that there is no further delay," Star India CEO Uday Shankar told

After hearing the petition, the Delhi High Court has issued notice to the government of India and the Information & Broadcasting Ministry, seeking responses by 6 August.

Earlier, the Government had decided 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 on 20 June, bowing to pressure from the local cable operators, multi-system operators (MSOs) and some state governments.

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 should be by December 2014, in a phased manner. In respect of the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, the digital switchover was mandated to come into effect from 1 July 2012.

However, 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 been substantially implemented. This had resulted in the slow pick up of set-top boxes (STBs) and the completion of the process of digitisation could not be completed by 30 June.

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