Countdown starts for Phase II digitization
A high-level meeting headed by Information and Broadcasting Ministry Secretary Uday Kumar Varma on Tuesday reviewed the preparedness for Phase II cities, wherein the digitization deadline in 38 cities in 15 States expires on March 31, 2013.
The Ministry had issued a notification dated November 11, 2011 notifying Phase-wise digitization of Analogue Cable Television Networks in India.
Digitization of the Analogue Cable Television Networks was completed in the metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
"As on 5th November 2012, 22.4 lakh Set Top Boxes (STBs) have been installed in Mumbai, 25.15 lakh in Delhi, whereas in Kolkata 17.74 lakh STBs have been installed. The matter is sub-judice in the Madras High Court about Chennai. 29 lakh subscribers have DTH connections in the four metro cities," said an official statement.
"Ministry's teams have been making extensive field visits to the headends in Mumbai and Delhi to check for violations. Teams have also visited several homes to interact with people and to take a direct feedback about the running of analogue signals," it said.
The Ministry has asked the MSOs to make a thorough assessment of the number of STBs, taking into consideration credible data from the ground level.
MSOs have also been asked to provide information about the estimated number of STBs and their plans for procurement of STBs to ensure that the deadline of March 31, 2013 is met in these Phase II cities.
The Ministry said it has started working on a communication campaign to target the specific needs of 38 cities of Phase II. It was emphasized that a meticulous planning of the Phase II cities is essential incorporating learnings from Phase I cities.
"Ministry has planned a one-day workshop in the month of November to prepare an integrated plan of action for a smooth and flawless transition in Phase II cities," the statement said.
"Ministry had earlier written to the Chief Secretaries of the Phase II States to nominate a Nodal Officer from each State as well as from each targeted city so that a close liaison and coordination could be made with the Nodal Officers to sort out local issues.
"It has also been planned to put in place additional man power through BECIL to make extensive field visits in the targeted cities of Phase II," it said.
It was reiterated in the High Level meeting that the digitization deadline of March 31, 2013 would remain intact and that the preparation of Phase II should be done in right earnest to meet the notified deadline.