No relaxation on digitisation in Delhi, Mumbai & Kolkata

NEW DELHI: The Government has ruled out any possibility of allowing multi-system operators (MSOs) and local cable operators (LCOs) in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata more time to completely switch over to digital delivery of television channels, as has been offered in Chennai.

During the hearing of a case in the Madras High Court, the ministry had said it was willing to extend the digitisation deadline to 31 December for Chennai if all the MSOs or LCOs signed affidavits assuring that they would go digital within the extended deadline.

Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry sources said the extension in deadline offered for Chennai was not applicable to Mumbai, Delhi or Kolkata since the situation in the southern metro was very different.

The sources said while the ministry had signed agreements for digital addressable system with 11 MSOs in Chennai, the largest MSO – the state government-owned Arasu –had only analogue delivery system and needed more time to convert to DAS.

The sources also said I&B Minister Manish Tewari had categorically ruled out any extension of the date in any of the phases, of which the first phase covering the four metros became effective on 1 November. The second phase of digitisation covering 38 cities takes effect on 31 March and all the cable TV delivery systems across the rest of the country are scheduled to go digital by December 2014.

The ministry sources admitted that there would be some differences in the figures given by it on implementation of digitisation or installation of digital set top boxes (STBs) with the actual figures on the ground, but it does not pose any problem as the consumers of these four cities were keen to go digital.

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