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Siti Networks CEO V.D. Wadhwa hails dismissal of DAS III cases by Delhi HC

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MUMBAI: Siti Networks executive director & CEO V.D. Wadhwa has welcomed the Delhi High Court judgement which, on 3 November, overruled the orders passed by various other high courts whereby the stay granted for extension of digitisation for nine cases spanning four states in DAS Phase III will no longer be applicable.

The DAS Phase III implementation deadline of 31 December 2015 had been impacted due to stay orders taken in various high courts. On the basis of the ministry of information & broadcasting’s recommendation, in April, the Supreme Court had transferred all cases related to extension of DAS Phase III deadline to the Delhi High Court, thus making it a designated court for all related matters.

Welcoming the judgement, Wadhwa said that the dismissal of the nine cases by the Delhi High Court will pave the path for cable TV digitisation in phase III areas and allow for its timely implementation in phase IV localities as well.

In his 3 November order, Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva of the Delhi High Court’s single bench has directed all nine petitioners to run a scroll on their networks about digitization and switch off analog signals in three weeks. Justice Sachdeva also said that these cases were infructuous as the time sought for extension had already been given and the extension has well passed those dates. The nine cases for which the order was given are from four states, namely, Karnataka (Riddhi Vision, Victory Digital, Sri Chowdeshwary Cable Network, Yogesh Cable Networks, Amma TV), Kerala (Athulay Infomedia), Andhra Pradesh & Telangana (Panchajanya Media), and Uttar Pradesh (Sai Cable TV Network, Sunil Kr Singh).

Wadhwa added: "Digitisation is very important for not just the consumers, who will get better service and more choice in terms of channel packages, but also for local cable operators, MSOs and broadcasters. It will allow for parity in sharing of revenues as per TRAI guidelines. This will also aid in increasing the internet penetration in the country and thus realizing the digital India dream. I would urge all concerned to immediately comply with the honorable court’s orders to seed digital set-top boxes and switching off of analog signals in three weeks’ time.”

All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF), the industry body representing Multi System Operators (MSO), has asked all its members to work with broadcasters to switch off analogue signals and implement digitisation in DAS Phase III markets immediately in line with the court order.

AIDCF has urged all LCOs, MSOs, broadcasters and government bodies to help complete digitisation at the earliest. In a separate mail sent to Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the apex body for television broadcasters, AIDCF has asked them to shut down analogue and broadcast digital signals only.

Wadhwa, in his capacity as the president of AIDCF, thanked Justice Sachdeva for this important order to pave the way for digitisation.

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