Technology

HC postpones digitisation hearing by 4 weeks

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MUMBAI: The Madras High Court on Thursday postponed hearing on a petition by Chennai Metro Cable Operators‘ Association (CMCOA) by another four weeks, keeping the cable TV industry guessing about the fate of government mandated digitisation process in Chennai.

CMCOA had last week filed a fresh petition challenging the government notification of Cable Television Networks Rules, 2012 that paved the way for digitisation of the cable TV services.

Earlier, the two-member bench of Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Aruna Jagadeesan had adjourned the matter till Thursday following requests by petitioners as well respondents for more time.

There are 18 respondents in the petition which include the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) and the Multi System Operators (MSOs) from Chennai.

The CMCOA had earlier filed a petition seeking postponement of cable digitisation in Chennai by at least three months following which the DAS implementation was stayed by the Court.

The cable operators argue that if digitisation is allowed to roll-out, it will create chaos since the MSOs don‘t have enough STBs. According to CMCOA, there are an estimated 4 million homes in Chennai metropolitan region.

The deadline for the first phase of digitisation in the four metro cities was 1 November. Digitisation has taken effect in the other three metros of Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. The Madras High Court had on 31 October stayed the digitisation in Chennai till 5 November. The Court again extended the deadline till 9 November following which it was put off till 19 November.

According to the I&B Ministry, 63 per cent television households in Chennai have been digitized, a claim the local cable operators have disputed.

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