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Digitisation: Final call on demand for extending deadline next week

| Updated on: Jun 15, 2012

About 3 million set-top boxes have been deployed in the metros out of the estimated 10 million that need to be arranged.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry is likely to take a final call on the demands for extension of the deadline of the first phase of digitisation by next week.

The taskforce formed by the Government for overseeing digitisation met on Friday and reviewed its progress in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. The four metros have to go digital by the end of this month.

Last week, the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ms Ambika Soni, had met all the stakeholders to take stock of the progress. At the meeting which had seen the presence of all the stakeholders including local cable operators from various cities besides Multi System Operators (MSOs) and broadcasters, Ms Soni had reaffirmed the Government's commitment towards digitisation.

It was also decided that all the stakeholders will submit their feedback to the Ministry in a structured form by June 11. These suggestions were discussed at the taskforce meeting which was chaired by the I&B Secretary, Mr Uday Kumar Varma.

Mr Varma said, “The task force took note of all the information that it has received from the stakeholders, and after considering all these things, we will come to a conclusion.”

The Government is learnt to have sought additional information from stakeholders by June 18. According to industry estimates, about 3 million set-top boxes have been deployed in the metros out of the estimated 10 million that need to be arranged. In terms of their installation, Mumbai is doing better than the other metros.

While most broadcasters are not in favour of extension of deadline, MSOs and local cable operators have been asking for extension. They have sought more time for arranging set-top boxes and have also pointed out that TRAI's recommendations on digitisation and tariff order have come in only last month.

> Meenakshi.v@thehindu.co.in

Published on March 12, 2018

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