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Digitisation drive: Independent cable operators seek extension

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on November 15, 2017

Digi

The independent cable operators have urged the Information & Broadcasting Ministry to extend the date of the sunset clause for the first phase of digitisation.

The four metros of New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata are set to go digital by June 30. In its representation to the Ministry, the Cable Operators Federation of India (COFI) has said that the Government has delayed issuing new cable TV regulations by nearly four months since the notification in November 2011, which will leave no time for the new entrants to seek licence.

The association of cable operators has also said that the new entrants will not be able to procure set top boxes to compete with the existing players by June 30.

Ms Roop Sharma, President of COFI, said, “Several local cable operators, distributors as well independent cable operators want to upgrade themselves and seek licences to become Multi System Operators (MSOs) but with the regulations coming in only in April, has left them with little time.”

COFI said that since new MSOs could have applied for licenses only after the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules 2012 was notified, it leaves the new entrants a short span of 50-55 days to procure set top boxes and set up the infrastructure.

Ms Sharma also said that the revenue share arrangement between local cable operators and MSOs recommended in the tariff order by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is in favour of MSOs rather than cable operators and will make the local cable operator economically unviable.

Meanwhile, nearly 22 lakh set top boxes have been installed as per the data provided by the national level MSOs to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. About 25 lakh STBs are in the process of being installed and orders have been placed for additional STBs. As per estimates, nearly one crore boxes need to be installed by June 30 in the four metros.

> meenakshi.v@thehindu.co.in

Published on May 10, 2012

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