Regulators

TRAI urges urban consumers to get STBs by end of month; rules out extension of Phase III

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New Delhi,: Firmly ruling out any possibility of further extension of the deadline for digitization of cable television, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India today categorically said that cable TV services in urban areas in the country will be digital from January 1, 2016.

In a press release Trai also advised consumers of urban areas who are still receiving cable TV services without Set Top Boxes to avail and install these before the cut-off date in order to receive uninterrupted TV.

Trai said it had been taking steps for creating awareness amongst consumers and stakeholders by holding workshops and consumer outreach programmes about the implementation of DAS. Trai held a meeting with major stakeholders of the broadcasting and cable TV sector on December 1 with major stakeholders in the sector. Trai had earlier asked all stakeholders to inform it by 28 November for pending interconnect agreements or if they were facing any problems.

The broadcasters, direct-to-home operators and multi-system operators were asked to carry out exhaustive consumer awareness programmes about digitization of cable TV services so that the remaining customers in the urban areas are able to install STBs before the cut-off date of December 31. 

Broadcasters of TV channels were asked to send advance intimation by December 7 to the cable operators about non availability of TV channels for retransmission in analogue mode to the consumers from January 1, 2016.

Trai noted that the progress of seeding STBs in DAS Phase-III notified areas is ‘satisfactory and a good number of customers are getting the benefits of digitization’.

Trai said that while Phase -I had covered the four Metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai by October 31, 2012; Phase II covered cities with a population more than one million (38 cities) by March 31, 2013.

Phase -III is aimed at covering all Other Urban areas (Municipal Corporation/ Municipalities) except cities /towns/areas specified for corresponding Phase-I and Phase-II by December 31, 2015. The final phase will cover the rest of India by 31 December 2016.

The list of urban areas covered under Phase III of digitization is available on the website of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (www.mib.nic.in).

At the outset, TRAI said cable TV is one of the most popular medium of mass entertainment and education and there are presently more than 100 million cable TV subscribers.

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