Uncertainty looms over 30 June deadline for cable TV digitisation

MUMBAI: Uncertainty looms large over India‘s first target of cable TV digitisation in the four metros by 30 June.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is yet to come out with its tariff policy and rules for digital addressable systems (DAS). This is unlikely to happen next week as well with the Supreme Court asking Trai to wait for due turn to hear the sector regulator‘s plea on the tariff order for DAS.

Trai had approached the Supreme Court to permit it to fix the tariff rates as it is constrained by an interim order by the apex court that has allowed broadcasters to charge 42 per cent of their cable rates from DTH and other digital addressable service providers (Trai had fixed 35 per cent).

"It looks like the deadline of 30 June for the complete switchover from analogue to digital in the four metros will get delayed by a few months. There is no urgency on the part of Trai to come out with a policy framework for DAS. The industry needs time to get everything in order for the digital switchover to happen smoothly and effectively," said the head of a leading MSO on condition of anonymity.

The various stakeholders of the broadcast industry are awaiting Trai‘s order before they can stitch commercial deals with their partners to roll out digital addressable cable. The multi-system operators (MSOs) and last mile operators have to conclude revenue share arrangements. Broadcasters will also have to get into agreements with the MSOs on pricing of their content. Other contentious issues like basic tier need to guided by a policy framework.

The government, however, has stated clearly that there would be no delay. Information & Broadcasting Secretary Uday Varma has publicly stated that the 30 June deadline for digitisation in the four metros "is sacrosanct".

"Nobody knows whether that 30 June deadline is sacred anymore. The government has stayed firm but the industry needs time to work upon it. This can only happen after the rules are laid down by the sector regulator," said the head of a television channel distribution company.

The digitisation in the four metros would require a deployment of around 10 million set-top boxes (STBs) and huge investments.

"The companies will have to go to their respective boards and draw up a business plan. They will have to know their cash flows as it would require huge investments. Adequate time should be given for a proper rollout," said a senior executive who leads operations of a distribution platform.

The remark by Firhad Hakim ‘Bobby‘, the Urban Development Minister who is said to be close to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has lent uncertainty to the mood for cable TV digitisation in Kolkata. "We were not consulted on this issue. If Trai or other agencies had discussed it with erstwhile CPM government, we are not responsible for that," the minister had said.

"Other political leaders have not opposed the deadline for cable TV digitisation yet. So we don‘t know how the remark by a lone minister would influence the deadline. The more important thing is that the rules have not yet come from Trai. We have to be careful that the digitisation is properly implemented this time. People shouldn‘t lose their confidence on digitisation because of faulty implementation," said the CEO of a MSO who did not want his name to be revealed.

Latest Reads
Highly-beneficial interactions take place at Broadcast India '16

The 26th Broadcast India Show concluded over the weekend in Mumbai, and was easily the most exciting Broadcast India Show yet. With thousands of eager, high-quality trade visitors swarming the show floor, a sentiment signalling highly-beneficial exchanges and interactions echoed through the halls...

Technology Software Applications
India, China to propel APAC, beat CAS Europe market share

APAC is expected to overtake the market share of Europe in future due to an increasing demand for digital TV set-up boxes in countries such as China and India. North America and Europe dominated the global CAS market in 2015. APAC region is estimated to mark a growth rate of 12.0 per cent CAGR...

Technology Hardware Set-top Boxes
India lucrative market for 4K UHD STBs: Grand View Research

Here’s a view on the demand for 4K or ultra high definition (UHD) set-top boxes (STBs) in India.

Technology Hardware Set-top Boxes
Infor appoints Dass as south Asian subcontinent V-P

Infor, a leading provider of business applications specialized by industry and built for the cloud, has appointed Ashish Dass as the vice president and managing director for the south Asian subcontinent. Infor software helps eliminate the need for costly customization through embedded deep...

Technology Software Applications
Siti & DishTV opt for Conax conditional access

The Essel group has been using Conax’s tech for sometime now for its Siti Network (earlier known as Siti Cable). Now the group has extended that partnership for another product for both Siti Network and DTH operator Dish TV India. This time it is for the cardless set top boxes that the two are...

Technology Hardware Set-top Boxes
Imagine Communications extends functionality of Selenio One unified transcoding platform to OTT

MUMBAI: Imagine Communications, empowering the media and entertainment industry through transformative innovation, today introduced a high-density adaptive bitrate (ABR) transcoding product built on Selenio One™, the company’s software-defined linear transcoding platform. Selenio One is designed...

Technology Hardware Components
DJI Makes Your Smartphone Smarter with the New Osmo Mobile

DJI, the world leader in creative camera technology, Thursday launched the Osmo Mobile, an extension for smartphones that turns them into intelligent, precision camera systems.

Technology Hardware Components
Prime Focus Tech gets funding from PE firm Ambit Pragma

MUMBAI: Prime Focus Technologies (PFT) – the technology offshoot of media services company Prime Focus - informed the Bombay stock exchange today that it had received its first round of funding from growth capital private equity fund Ambit Pragma.

Technology Software Applications
Three new products developed by C-DOT launched on its Foundation Day

Communications Minister Manoj Sinha today expressed the hope that 100,000 Gram Panchayats (GPs) will be connected through Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) by March next to set up a network infrastructure to serve the rural masses.

Technology Hardware Distribution

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories