It was early this month, when we first reported about the good ol' cable TV's impending transition from analog to digital across the four metros – Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai starting from June 30th, this year. Now, according to a report in the Financial Chronicle, the TRAI has confirmed that the plan to make the transition from analog to digital is well on schedule and the June 30th deadline is very much there, dousing all doubts in the process. According to his statement given the Financial Chronicle, J S Sarma stated that not only is the plan well on schedule, but also that they have ordered for a whopping 10 million set-top boxes to carry out the transition.
It should be noted here that the June 30th, 2012 deadline for the transition of the cable TV to digital is only for the residents across the aforementioned four metros, and not for elsewhere in the country, where the transition will come in a little later. Those consumers in cities, like Pune, Ahmedabad and Bangalore, where the size of the population exceeds 1 million, the shift will come in a little later, by March 2013. The deadline issued for switching over to digital cable in urban areas is September 30, 2014. Through the country, this exercise will be carried out in four broad phases, the final deadline being on December 31, 2014.
Post June 30th, 2012 it'll all be gone!
Quoting Sarma, the report further stated that firms, “need to have the plan and boxes ready with sufficient training to workers to ensure that once they approach people they are convinced to switch from analogue to digital platform. It cannot happen successfully if done the other way round.” He added, “We expect to reach 1 million figure by March 31, 2013, and cover the whole country by 2014. The digitisation would address various issues facing the television industry especially that of carriage fees, audience measurement and consumer choice. It would have a long-term beneficial impact for all players, increase transparency in the sharing of distribution revenues and help improve both the quality and variety of content.“
This move by the government comes post an amendment to the Section 4A of the Cable Regulation Act, 1995, which now directs the compulsory implementation of mandatory addressable digitization (MAD). The new ruling essentially implies that all cable operators will have to, before their aforementioned deadlines switch the signals that they transmit to digital, instead of the earlier analog. Those users subscribing to cable operators who do not comply with the new rules (i.e. switching over to digital signals) will not be able to view any of their TV programmes, post the scheduled deadline.
A couple of days ago, we had also reported about the I&B ministry resorting to Facebook to educate users about their plans to uniformly digitize cable TV in India. The ministry's dedicated FB account – www.facebook.com /DigitalIndiaMIB, according to the description aims to “….use this community forum to address issues/ queries, exchange comments and observations by all the stakeholder and the public regarding digitalization of Cable TV.“