Four cities go fully digital ahead of sunset date: MIB

MUMBAI: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) has said that 67 per cent digitisation target has been achieved in 38 cities with four cities - Hyderabad, Amritsar, Chandigarh and Allahabad - achieving nearly 100 per cent digitisation.

Eight other cities - Jodhpur, Thane, Aurangabad, Jaipur, Pune, Faridabad, Nashik, and Ghaziabad - have achieved 75 per cent digitisation.

Another 28 cities have achieved digitisation of more than 50 per cent individually, the MIB said. These cities are Ludhiana, Hyderabad, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Allahabad, Jodhpur, Thane, Aurangabad, Jaipur, Pune, Faridabad, Nashik, Ghaziabad, Meerut, Vadodara, Sholapur, Kanpur, Varanasi, Bangalore, Indore, Ranchi, Lucknow, Navi Mumbai, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Surat, Bhopal and Howrah.

As on 23 March, a total of 10.8 million set-top boxes (STBs) have already been installed in Phase-II cities against the target of 16 million, as per the data received from the DTH operators and the MSOs.

The sunset date for the phase II of digitisation is 31 March after which analogue signals will be switched off in these 38 cities. During phase I, the three metro cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata have gone digital. In Chennai, digitisation could not be completed as the Madras High Court issued a stay order on a petition filed by local cable operators.

The MIB said it has been consistently monitoring the progress made towards digitisation during Phase II of the process with I&B Minister Manish Tewari reviewing the progress on a daily basis.

The Task Force set up by the MIB has also been meeting every week to take stock of the progress of digitisation in Phase-II. The Ministry has already conducted second round of meeting with nodal officers of 38 cities on 8 March to ascertain preparedness in these cities.

As part of the public awareness campaign to sensitise the consumers on the benefits of digitisation, the Ministry has also stepped up the Public Awareness campaign through print and electronic media. All India Radio as well as private FM broadcasters have been broadcasting radio jingles on its National and regional networks for creating public awareness.

The Ministry has already brought out a print advertisement in all 38 cities in the respective regional languages. SMS campaign is presently underway in these cities.

As part of the awareness initiative, television channels have been frequently running video spots, black out advertisements, and scrolls to make the people aware regarding the benefits of the process and the deadline of the switch over from analogue to digital in the 38 cities set to be digitised under Phase II.

The Control Room of the Ministry, which also has a toll free number, has been receiving a number of calls from consumers of Phase-II cities.

In order to facilitate a seamless transition on the due date of 31 March 2013, the Ministry has asked major MSOs to depute their representatives in the Control Room to address and clarify various queries relating to acquisition of STBs, various schemes of purchase of STBs and package rates offered by MSOs.

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