MSOs not ordering STBs, say manufacturers

MUMBAI: The former Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Prakash Javadekar had emphasised the need for bringing in indigenous Set Top Boxes (STBs) and the new administration is also keen to do the same. It was with this in mind that I&B secretary Bimal Julka held a meeting with indigenous STB manufacturers recently.

Julka said that the issue of C-Form had already been addressed by the government to ensure level playing field for the domestic manufacturers as compared to imported STBs. The meeting was to assess the readiness of the manufacturers to meet the 11 million STB requirements since they had stated that sufficient capacity had been installed.

A meeting had also been held with the Prime Minister regarding availability of conditional access system (CAS). The issue of interoperability of STBs was also being scrutinised and a task force meeting on the same had also been held.

The STB manufacturers informed that they have been in touch with operators for their requirements but their response has not been encouraging. According to them the operators are anticipating change in timeline of digitisation and a change in policy, leading to their slow uptake.

The manufacturers stated that they are prepared to go head on with the imported boxes as well as have a penal clause on penalty. Since no order was coming from operators, it was a difficult task to prepare production since time was needed to receive the components from suppliers.

Therefore, they manufacturers have requested the Ministry to facilitate a process so that MSOs look at indigenous STBs for phases III and IV of digitisation. A joint meeting between the three could be held to resolve concerns.

Julka clarified that 2015 and 2016 are the final dates for digitisation, so there needs to be no apprehension on that front. Monitoring of the digitisation programme would be scaled up in accordance with the implementation strategy being set in the Ministry.

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