Around 6.6 mn STBs still to be installed in 38 cities of Phase II of DAS

NEW DELHI: A total of 6.59 million cable television homes in the 38 cities which are to be covered in Phase II of digitisation have still to receive set-top boxes, just three weeks ahead of the deadline of 31 March.

The level of digitisation in the cities had reached 58.84 per cent including 25.85 per cent of direct-to-home homes as on 8 March.

Information and Broadcasting Ministry sources claimed a total of 5.28 million cable homes had received set top boxes as on 8 March, apart from 4.14 homes on DTH.

The sources said a total of 16.01 million total TV sets had to be digitised by making provision of 20 per cent for multiple TVs in houses and TVs in offices/shops. The total number of TV Households according to Ministry statistics is 13.34 million.

Of the 38 cities, Bangalore leads with 7,50,181 STBs installed, followed by Hyderabad with 7,33,729, while Coimbatore, Visakhapatnam, and Srinagar were at the bottom of the list with no STB installation as on 8 March.

The Ministry has set up a Task Force exclusively for Phase II cities to oversee and monitor the digitisation process. A public awareness Committee has also been constituted in the Ministry for spearheading awareness campaign and all TV channels have started to run a scroll informing consumers about the deadline for cable TV digitisation, as also an animated commercial.

All India Radio has also started broadcasting of the radio jingles on its National and regional networks for creating public awareness. Several other initiatives like SMS campaign, video spots and print advertisements etc. are on the anvil. The State Governments/UTs have already nominated nodal officers in 38 cities of Phase II. The Ministry had recently conducted a workshop for them.

It is planned to organise a second workshop shortly to take stock of preparedness in Phase II cities. A regional workshop was also held recently at Bangalore to sensitise local MSOs, cable operators and other stakeholders.

The Ministry had set up a Control Room during Phase I, which has continued to function to address the queries of consumers, cable operators and others. The Control Room which also has a toll free number has been receiving a number of calls from consumers of Phase II cities.

In order to facilitate cable TV digitisation in 38 cities of Phase II, the Ministry has already issued provisional registration to 30 Independent MSOs to operate in Phase II cities. This would enable these MSOs to operate in their respective cities to provide digital cable TV services.

For the second phase, the 38 specific cities and areas which have been listed in the notification are Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Kanpur, Jaipur, Lucknow, Nagpur, Patna, Indore, Bhopal, Thane, Ludhiana, Agra, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nashik, Vadodara, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Rajkot, Meerut, Kalyan-Dombivali, Varanasi, Amritsar, Navi Mumbai, Aurangabad, Solapur, Allahabad, Jabalpur, Srinagar, Visakhapatnam, Ranchi, Howrah, Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Mysore and Jodhpur.

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