I&B Ministry issues new deadlines for DAS phase III and IV

NEW DELHI: It is official now. The new dates for digitisation of cable television in the entire country have been announced. While was the first to write about the extension in the date given for digitisation of phase III and IV, Information and Broadcasting Ministry officials have said that while phase III has been postponed to December 2015, phase IV can be completed by December 2016. The move has been taken to allow great indigenisation of production of Set Top Boxes (STB) to meet the demands of digital addressable system (DAS).

Earlier, the government had set 31 December 2014 as the date by which the cable sector across the country would be completely digitised.

In the first two phases of digitisation, which included cable TV households in the four metros and other major cities, most of the STBs that were installed had been imported from other countries.

After he took over as Information and Broadcasting Minister, one of the major areas of focus of Prakash Javadekar has been indigenisation of the digitisation drive and Ministry sources said the new dates are in keeping with inputs supplied to the Minister in this connection.

The Ministry has made efforts to get STBs declared as Telecommunication Network Equipment which will enable domestic manufacturers to get exempted from certain taxes, an official said.

Nearly 110 million STBs are required to be installed in cable TV households in the remaining two phases of digitisation and the extended deadline will ensure that the domestic manufacturers prepare themselves and meet this demand, officials said. 

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