Technology

Madras HC pushes digitisation deadline to 5 November in Chennai

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: The Madras High Court on Wednesday pushed the deadline for implementation of digitisation in Chennai to Monday, 5 November.


Justice Paul Vasanthkumar said the government itself has admitted that Chennai had achieved less than 70 per cent target in installation of digital set top boxes (STBs).


The order came on a petition by Chennai Metro Cable Operators Association (CMCOA) General Secretary M R Srinivasan.


The petitioner‘s counsel V P Gopalan argued that there were four million TV households in Chennai but STBs had been installed in just 200,000 homes, while another 700,000 were covered by direct-to-home platforms.


The Court also heard counsel for the Information & Broadcasting Ministry who said Chennai had achieved 62 per cent Cable TV digitization and that the figure goes up to 86 per cent on inclusion of direct-to-home (DTH).


The government has set 1 November as the deadline for compulsory switchover to digital delivery of television channels in the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.


Talking to Indiantelevision.com from Chennai, Srinivasan said CMCOA will ask for extension of the deadline by at least three months.


CMCOA argument is that the actual number of homes seeded with STBs is only 200,000 out of 4 million television homes and if the digitisation deadline stands a lot of television sets will go blank.


Srinivasan also said the government will have to direct the Multi System Operators (MSOs) to procure enough boxes and monitor the digitisation process on a weekly basis to ensure that the digitisation target is met.


The state-owned Arasu Corporation, he said, was not present in Chennai and is yet to receive DAS licence which also added to the delay. Furthermore, other MSOs (Kal Cable and Sun Cable Vision) in Chennai are offering STBs only to cable operators who are paying in advance as per requirement.


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