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MIB favours switching to DTH if consumers have problems with MSOs or LCOs

NEW DELHI: The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has said that HITS (Head-end In The Sky), private DTH and DD FreeDish are the options in remote rural areas while discussing the issue of the concerns expressed by operators that over 20 per cent of rural and remote areas were not financially and technically viable.

DTH operators were advised by MIB to pay special attention to such area enabling customers in these areas to readily adopt these services given by them and to explore the possibility of cost effective packages especially for these remote and inaccessible areas.

About the issue of sharing infrastructure cost with MSOs & Local Cable Operators (LCOs) keeping in mind high cost of providing signals in remote areas, the Ministry said it felt consumers have the option to take services from DTH operators and/or DD Free Dish and it may not be administratively feasible by the Ministry to share cost for infrastructure as a large number of MSOs and LCOs are operating in these areas.

MeITY to solve problems relating to STB manufacturers

A Parliamentary Committee was told that the Electronics and IT (MeitY) Ministry was attempting to address the entire value-chain holistically and was in active consultation with the concerned Ministries in view of the demands by the Association of domestic STBs manufacturers of long term financing to the MSOs and 0% import duty with effect from 1 January 2016 under India-ASEAN FTA which has also adversely affected the production of domestic STBs.

The Committee noted that though there was no stay now after all cases relating to Phase III were transferred to the Delhi High Court, the cut-off date was extended “due to poor seeding of STBs because of the uncertainty caused due to the court cases.”

Under-utilisation of funds due to market uncertainty

It was also noted that Rs 50 million was allocated at budget estimate stage 2016-17 which was reduced to Rs 30 million at Revised estimates 2016-17 due to the large number of court cases filed in various High Courts and “total uncertainty in the market” about the implementation of cut-off date of 31 December 2015 & 31 December 2016 for Phase III and Phase IV of digitisation respectively.

As a result, workshops with the nodal officers could not be conducted, which resulted in the underutilisation of funds from the projections made at BE stage.

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