Cable TV

DAS Phase III: MIB’s big dilemma

MUMBAI: The past fortnight has seen High Court directives in five different states make a mockery of the 31 December, 2015 deadline set by the government for the Phase III roll out of digital addressable system (DAS).

The courts have urged the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) to not act against multi system operators (MSOs) and cable operators who have not been able to place set top boxes (STBs) in homes for two months. In essence, the DAS sunset date has been extended in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Sikkim, Maharashtra, Odhisa, Tamil Nadu and now Guwahati.

The Bombay High Court specifically cited a Supreme Court judgment and noted that a stay granted by a high court on a central notification in one state would be applicable in other states as well. That was the case of Kusum Ingots vs the Union of India, in 2004. (

The question on everyone’s mind is: would other petitioners in other states under the DAS Phase III ambit also approach their respective High Courts for relief? Hence, did it make sense for broadcast networks to continue with digitally encrypted signals, which they had resorted to once the clock struck midnight of the new year?

Most of them including Viacom18, Star India, Zee and Sony thought it did not. Hence, they have all switched on their analog signals a day or so after switching them off.

Now that has put the MIB in a bit of a quandary. The team lead by MIB secretary Sunil Arora - and including special secretary JS Mathur, and joint secretary RS Jaya apart from other members - have been driving DAS III digitisation and were quite clear that no extension should be given. 

Sources indicate that one line of action being considered by the MIB is to approach the Supreme Court for relief against the restraint orders granted by the various courts. Experts such as Supreme Court advocate KV Dhananjay have argued against the stance taken in the Kusum Ingots case by the courts. (

Whether the MIB will go ahead and approach the Supreme Court or not is a moot point, but the industry is putting its might behind it. Most of the industry associations like the Indian Broadcasting Foundation, the DTH Operators Association and the MSO Alliance have all reportedly urged the ministry to move the apex court.

Industry believes that the extension is unlikely to serve any purpose, as cable operators knew of the phased rollout of DAS as much as for the past three to four years and hence they could have prepared for it. Complaining about a shortage of STBs or interconnect agreements or capital post the sunset date is simply facile, professionals state. 

“The analog switch off is mandatory,” says an industry observer. “Digitally encrypted signals need to be the only mode of television delivery via satellite in India in Phase III areas. Private DTH operators and the government owned FreeDish can deliver television wherever there are signal dark areas courtesy cable TV’s unpreparedness. The government needs to approach the courts to ensure that DAS Phase III proceeds as soon as possible.”

We will have to wait and watch if it does.

Latest Reads
NTO 2.0: MSOs asks Trai to reject new RIOs published by broadcasters

The Tamil Nadu Digital Cable TV Operators Association has written to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) asking it to reject the new reference interconnection offers (RIO) published by broadcasters. The Association has also sought Trai’s intervention in asking broadcasters to reduce...

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
GTPL Hathway ISP business grew by 50% YoY in Q2 FY22

Mumbai: Digital cable TV and broadband service provider GTPL Hathway’s internet service provider (ISP) business grew by 50 per cent YoY, according to its financial results for Q2 FY2022. The company reported consolidated revenues of Rs 605.2 crore up by four per cent YoY. The company’s paying...

Cable TV Multi System Operators
MCOF demands TRAI resolve pending grievances by 2 October

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Cable Operators' Foundation (MCOF) has written to the chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and minister of information and broadcasting (I&B) Anurag Thakur to resolve pending grievances of local cable operators (LCOs) before 2 October. According...

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
SITI Networks' Q1FY22 Operating EBITDA jumps 33.1% to Rs 537 Mn

SITI Networks, an Essel Group company and multi-system operator (MSO), has released its consolidated audited financial results for Q1FY22 ending June 30.

Cable TV Multi System Operators
NXTDigital revenue up 13.5% in Q1FY22

NXTDigital Ltd, the media vertical of the global Hinduja Group and an integrated digital distribution platform delivering services through digital cable television, HITS (Headend-In-The-Sky) and broadband, continued to leverage innovation and strategy to combat the challenges of the second wave to...

Cable TV Multi System Operators
GTPL Hathway records standalone net profit of Rs 30.5 cr in Q1 FY22

New Delhi: Cable TV and broadband service provider GTPL Hathway Limited (GTPL) has clocked a standalone net profit of Rs 30.5 crore for the quarter ended 30 June.

Cable TV Multi System Operators
TCCL implements ATEME's Titan Live solution for its cable TV platform

Mumbai: ATEME on Tuesday announced that Thamizhaga Cable TV Communication Pvt Ltd (TCCL), one of the largest cable distribution companies in India, has chosen to implement its TITAN Live solution for their cable TV platform.

Cable TV Multi System Operators
Cable operators take steps to ease vaccination process for staff

Despite the imminent health risks, the cable industry employees have continued to work on the frontlines all through the pandemic. Now with vaccination drives in full swing across the country, leading cable operators, too, are taking a step ahead and getting their employees inoculated.

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
Make in India push for set-top boxes face challenges

Last year it made headlines when large DTH players including Tata Sky, Dish TV announced their decision to move manufacturing of a significant portion of set-top boxes (STBs) in India. The announcements were in line with the government’s renewed push for Make in India.

Cable TV Local Cable Operators

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required