Nodal monitoring units for DAS to be formed by mid-January, task force to meet every month

NEW DELHI: A total of 11 crore set top boxes (STBs) will be needed for the third and final phase of digital addressable system of which only three crore will be for direct-to-home (DTH) platforms.


The Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) says the requirements for phase III have been worked out on the basis of census 2011 data and the compiled data will be sent to state governments for vetting.


The data for TV households is also being collected from the Registrar General and Census Commissioner for verification.


The Ministry, which claims that manufacturers have assured it of adequate supplies of STBs, has constituted a publicity committee and begun issuing advertisements in newspapers and the electronic media in this regard to encourage multi-system operators to place orders.


During the recent task force meeting for the next two phases of DAS, the Ministry said it will facilitate a meeting of manufacturers of indigenous STBs and MSOs in view of complaints by the manufacturers that no orders were being placed for the STBs.


A multi-lingual call centre will be set up by the end of February, and 12 nodal regional monitoring units will begin working by 15 January. The task force will meet every on the second Wednesday of every month.


The task force meeting under the chairmanship of Ministry additional secretary J S Mathur was also addressed by the advisor for DAS Yogendra Pal.


A road map has been prepared by the government for the final two phases, and MSOs have been asked to apply by 21 December this year for licences.


The Home Ministry will clear all security licences within 90 days, the meeting was informed.


Publicity awareness campaigns have also commenced, for which a Publicity Committee has been formed.


The Department of Information Technology is in the process of developing an Indian cable access system that will be ready in a year and will make interoperability of STBs possible. A participant pointed out that there was still the issue of certification involved in the embedment of CAS in set top box manufactured by the domestic STB manufacturers. The integration of CAS with the STB is a time consuming process and indigenous STB manufacturers must clear the apprehensions on this account.


The long pending demand of "C" Form had been resolved to give fillip to domestic manufacturing of STBs.


Interestingly, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has not attended any of the two task force meetings, a point noted by several participants. However, Mathur said TRAI was being apprised of the proceedings.


The Ministry officials said that MSOs could simply download the forms for registration and did not have to come to the Ministry.


A participant pointed out that the carriage fee which had fallen initially after announcement of DAS had again shot up. Others said issues relating to billing, packaging and reference interconnect order had still not been ironed out by TRAI.


There was also a reference to entertainment tax, and it was stated by some participants that the Uttar Pradesh Government had sharply raised this tax.


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