MSOs have over 2 mn STBs in stock: Govt

NEW DELHI: The government has brushed aside claims that the second phase of digitisation in 38 cities by 31 March could hit a rough patch due to shortage of set-top boxes (STBs) in the marketplace. Providing fresh update, the government has said that multi-system operators (MSOs) have around 2.23 million STBs in stock while another 2.02 million are under procurement.

A few days back, the government had claimed that the 38 cities had already gone through 55 per cent digitisation. Coupled with the new set of data, the government apparently feels that the second phase of digitisation should face no problems so far as availability of boxes go.

Information and Broadcasting Ministry says while it is not responsible for seeding of the digital STBs, it had been constantly monitoring the preparedness for the implementation of digital addressable cable TV system (DAS) in the 38 cities of Phase II which comprise around 16 million television households.

According to data received by the Ministry from the DTH operators and MSOs, a total of 8.77 million STBs have already been installed in Phase II cities as on 22 February. Out of the total of 8.77 million, DTH connections accounted for 4.07 million while cable STBs accounted for 4.7 million.

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.

Ministry sources said the STBs are being procured mostly from China and Korea, but some are also being obtained indigenously.

The Consumer Electronics and Appliance Manufacturers Association (CEAMA) is also a member of the Task Force and is pushing the production of indigenous STBs.

The Government announced a customs duty of ten per cent on imported STBs in the Union Budget in an attempt to encourage indigenous production.

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