I&B finalises December 2014 as sunset date for digitisation

NEW DELHI: The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has in its final report decided that digitisation of addressable cable systems will be completed in the country by December 2014.

In its final view on the schedule issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), the Ministry has said the first phase covering the metros would be completed by 31 March 2012 (as against Trai’s revised deadline of 31 December 2012).
The Ministry has also revised the date of Phase II, covering cities with a population of more than one million, to be fully digitised by 31 March 2013, as against the revised Trai deadline of 31 December 2012.

Phase III covering all urban areas (Municipal Corporations/Municipalities) will be digitised by 30 September 2014 (as against Trai‘s revised time schedule of 31 December 2013).

Phase IV covering the rest of India will be digitised by 31 December 2014 (as against revised timeline of 31 December 2013).

Trai in its recommendations on "Implementation of Digital Addressable Cable Systems in India" on 5 August last year had recommended that digitalisation with addressability should be implemented in the cable TV sector on priority. Accordingly, it suggested a timeframe comprising four phases for migration to a digital addressable cable TV system with sunset date for analogue cable TV services as 31 December 2013.

The Ministry, while expressing its agreement with all other recommendations made by Trai in this regard and also the staggered approach for implementation of full digitalisation, had on 28 January this year proposed a revised timeline with sunset date as on 31 March 2015.

In response to this, Trai in its letter of 22 February, recommended a slightly ‘rejigged’ time schedule without changing its earlier position with regard to the sunset date for switching over to digital system. 
Thereafter, the Ministry, eliciting the views of concerned industry associations, has arrived at the following time schedule for implementing digitalisation with addressability in the cable TV systems in the country subject to approval of the Cabinet.

Phase Area Suggested by TRAI Time frame initially recommended by Trai (5.08.10)Time frame proposed by the Ministry (28.01.11)Revised time frame by Trai (22.02.11)Ministry’s final views
Phase -1Four Metros of Delhi , Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai 31 Mar 2011 31 Mar 201231 Dec 201131 Mar 2012
Phase -2 Four Metros of Delhi , Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai 31 Dec 2011 31 Mar 201331 Dec 201231 March 2013
Phase -3All urban areas (Municipal Corp./ Municipalities ) 31 Dec 201230 Nov 201431 Dec 201330 Sep 2014
Phase -4 Rest of India 31 Dec 201331 Mar 201531 Dec 201331 Dec 2014

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