In what comes as an update to the second phase of the digitisation wave, reports confirm that the Karnataka High Court has pushed the deadline for installing STBs to April 8. In doing so, Justice Abdul Nazeer accepted the plea put forth by the Mysore District Cable Operators' Association. Cable operators in the state will now have to ensure that STBs are installed by that date. The Union Government too has been directed by the court to not switch off the existing signals before the deadline is over. 

This is the second time that the state has received a breather from the court with respect to the deadline for the installation of STBs. Earlier (on April 1), the Central government had been directed by court to ensure that the existing signals were not switched off till April 5. The association reportedly, sought more time since it had approached the Multi-System Operators for information on selling and package cost of the STBs.

No more deadline extensions

Deadline extended till April 8 in Karnataka (Image credit: Getty Images)

Last month, Uday Kumar Varma, Secretary – Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, had affirmed that the government was sure of meeting the March 31 deadline of the phase II of digitisation in 38 towns.

“Digitisation is happening smoothly. We have achieved 60 percent digitisation in the second phase. Subsequent to March 31, the process will be irreversible,” he said. Varma was addressing the valedictory function of the 14th edition of Ficci-Frames 2013, the annual convention of the Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry in Mumbai, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Varma went on to add that of the 38 cities in line for going digital in the second phase, 10 cities have achieved 75 percent digitisation. “Only four cities have been slow in implementing digitisation and have achieved only 30 percent,” he said. He added that only six million STBs are yet to be installed. “Out of 16 million STBs that are to be installed, 10 million have already been installed while six million are yet to be installed. However, we are confident that these will be installed within the deadline,” he said. 

In November last year, roughly a week after cable TV households in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata reached the deadline to make the switch to the digital signal, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting was reported to be moving into the second phase of digitisation. In a high-level meeting headed by Uday Kumar Varma, the preparedness of the Phase II cities for digitisation was gauged. 

The Ministry shared that it had notified on November 11, 2011 about the phase-wise digitisation of analogue cable TV networks in India. It added that the process of digitisation of the analogue cable TV networks has been completed across Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. 

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